Durham part of consortium awarded £5.3M to establish new research and innovation capability

Durham part of consortium awarded £5.3M to establish new research and innovation capability

Durham University is part of a consortium awarded a £5.3m grant from the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills’ new Regional Growth Fund (RGF) scheme.

Led by Procter & Gamble (P&G), the consortium is one of the successful applicants to be offered a grant from the scheme.

The award will contribute towards a combined strategic investment of £14m by the consortium, over a three year period, to establish a Centre of Excellence in Methods and New Technologies for Surface Modification and Cleaning (CEMENT) in the North East of England. The consortium comprises P&G’s Newcastle Innovation Centre, Durham University, Peerless Systems and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

Drawing upon a wealth of expertise, the consortium will drive cutting-edge research and innovation to develop new cleaning and surface modification technologies. In particular, the centre aims to develop technologies that will bring new, more environmentally friendly household care products to market in order to; reduce energy consumption during washing/cleaning cycles, minimise the water usage without compromising the high performance, value, freshness and convenience expected by increasingly demanding consumers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Tom McLeish, at Durham University, which recently won the Global Business Development University Partner of the Year award from Procter & Gamble, said: "This grant recognises the quality of Durham University’s continued partnership with P&G as well as the technical and scientific depth we can bring to collaborative research with commercial partners.

"The project is a major investment in the educational and business opportunities that the University can support to help to enhance the region’s economic well-being."

Shak Gohir, Practice Director for CPI’s Innovation and Growth Services team, said: "New cleaning and surface modification technologies are vital to almost all consumer and industrial settings, from home care to manufacturing of high-value products. Working closely with partners, CPI will help establish new projects with industry and raise further funds for the Centre in order to ensure its ongoing sustainability and wider economic benefit for the region."

The new Centre will form a strategic hub for building new research projects and technology transfer initiatives in the North East and the UK. The consortium will establish additional collaborative partnerships with companies that are not competing with P&G in the marketplace but can benefit from the knowledge, expertise, facilities and capabilities of the new Centre.

The Centre will therefore assist many UK companies looking to invest, research, develop and commercialise new surface modification and cleaning solutions for industrial application in the oil & gas, renewables, chemicals, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics, construction and other sectors.

Charles Bragg, Research & Development Director for P&G Newcastle, said: "The project investment recognises the skills and expertise of the Newcastle Innovation Centre (NIC), which is a key part of the P&G global R&D organisation. The project continues the significant investment in the region by P&G and, together with our partners, will bring exciting possibilities in the area of surface modification across several industries.

"Through our Connect & Develop innovation strategy, P&G aims to work with outside organisations on 50 per cent of all new initiatives, and this project brings the strengths of our North East partners to this critical area of our work on household products."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Creating long term jobs and long term growth is our number one priory for Britain right now.

"I want the North East to be a place to build and make things again.

"The Regional Growth Fund is helping the economy grow in every region and across a range of industries."

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