GEIC visits: trade delegations pledge support for graphene innovation

During July, we were pleased to host a number of visits to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) – showcasing our expertise in advanced materials science and commercialisation to high-profile guests from the UK and abroad.

On 14 July, we welcomed Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, Minister for Investment jointly at the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Lord Grimstone’s trip to the city-region included discussions with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and a look around the new hub building for the Henry Royce Institute, the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation, based at The University of Manchester.

At the GEIC, Lord Grimstone was given a tour of our labs and shown graphene-enhanced innovations taken from lab to market, including the inov-8 running shoe, now a bestseller, plus a graphene-enhanced concrete (Concretene) that was recently poured as part of commercial project.

“[Graphene@Manchester is] helping companies commercialise new technologies, products and processes that exploit the remarkable properties of graphene and other 2D materials,” said Lord Grimstone. “These innovations will help us drive clean growth and encourage greener investment from around the world.”

James Baker, CEO at Graphene@Manchester, said: “We introduced the minister to a range of our industry partners, including large international companies to start-ups and SMEs from our local area. There were some great discussions on how we can support these companies and, in turn, how our materials work in Manchester can support the government’s levelling up agenda in the North West.”

On 29 July, we entertained two visiting parties, one from the German Embassy to the UK, another from the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai, India.

German Ambassador Andreas Michaelis and Frau Heike Michaelis were joined by representatives from the British German Association and Greater Manchester Combined Authority on a wide-ranging tour of the city-region, taking in Salford’s Media City and a number of manufacturing sites.

When visiting the GEIC, the party were shown around the Composites Lab and the High Bay, where staff talked through some of our ground-breaking work around low-emissions concrete and anti-corrosion coatings for steel (pictured below).

Andreas Michaelis (above, far left) said: “The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre is one of the world’s leading graphene research centres. Many thanks to the team for offering me a fascinating look at the innovative work they are doing and illustrating the many potential areas of application for this ‘wonder material’.”

Later the same day, Oliver Ballhatchet MBE – the Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, representing the UK in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry – was accompanied by Shehla Hasan, Executive Director of the Manchester India Partnership, and Paul Battersby from MIDAS – Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency – as part of a tour given by Paul Wiper, Application Manager and leader of the GEIC’s Bridging the Gap programme, which supports local SMEs pioneering graphene innovation. This programme is funded by the European Regional Development Agency (ERDF).

Among the facilities shown was the lab that Paul manages (pictured above), specialising in chemical vapour deposition (CVD) with advanced equipment for growing few-layer and monolayer graphene and other 2D materials.

“It was a pleasure to showcase the GEIC’s capabilities and world-class equipment with Oliver and we hope for future collaborations,” said Paul.

Top image (l-r): Lord Grimstone; James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester; Prof Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester; Professor Richard Jones, Chair of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy; Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS Manchester

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