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Critical funds for critical materials

Materials Security Special Interest Group lead technologist, environmental sustainability John Whittall explains the group’s role when it launches later this month.

Companies in the UK spanning a range of business sectors are increasingly concerned about access to the key materials they need to make products and deliver services.

The Technology Strategy Board is setting up the Materials Security Special Interest Group to bring together the wide range of disciplines needed to tackle materials security threats and opportunities.

The group involves three “knowledge transfer networks” (chemistry innovation, environmental sustainability and materials) and seeks to bring together all those involved in the life of materials - from designers through to waste and reprocessing via primary producers, chemical engineers, materials scientists, product developers and retailers.

Linked to the group, a £4.5m collaborative R&D competition on supply chain innovation”, opening on 3 October, has a dual resource efficiency and materials security theme.

A key feature is that projects will be led by industrial end-users, who will define innovation needs across their supply chain. Reverse supply chain projects, such as recovering high-value materials from a particular waste or product stream, would also be of interest. If there is a strong response to the competition, further funding opportunities may follow.

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