Stuart MacLachlan, head of research and development (R&D) at international materials consultancy Lucideon, has been named The Manufacturer’s employee of the month April 2015.
What is your role and what are your main responsibilities?
Lucideon offers product and process development coupled with analysis and testing and a focus on advanced materials. Innovation is very important to us as it helps grow not only our business but also that of our customers.
As Head of R&D at Lucideon, I promote technical innovation both within the company and working to advance developments from the laboratory into commercial environments.
I need a wide understanding of science and technology particularly in the area of advanced materials, and how this applies to the commercial world. Additionally abilities to link industry and the research base and to co-ordinate and manage complex projects are key to my role.
What personal characteristics help you in your role?
I am very enthusiastic about the benefits materials can bring as often this is not recognised. In addition, I need to be resourceful and look at situations from different angles to successfully manage the different aspects of innovation projects.
What do you consider to be your biggest personal success at the company so far?
One project that stands out has been early involvement in the development of Lucideon’s field enhanced processing technology.
Supported by the Regional Growth Fund, the project aims to lower the firing time and temperature of ceramics, cutting manufacturers’ energy bills dramatically, while also reducing their carbon footprint.
Being part of the team in the ‘ReBioStent’ project, a collaboration with 13 partners from academia and industry, is an exciting challenge. The resulting multi-functional biomaterials, designed to reduce the risk of restenosis and thrombosis, will be drug-loaded and bioresorbable and will have improved mechanical properties compared to current metal stents.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
The variety, a sense of making a difference, meeting new people and being part of a great team, which combine to make my role both interesting and fulfilling.
Do you have a grand career ambition?
It’s to see Lucideon broaden even more its offer internationally – and to see more young people come into the company and make their mark.
Lucideon announced it’s opening up a new facility at the world-renowned Cambridge Science Park. We’re also opening a new facility in North Carolina to tap into the region’s acclaimed expertise in materials science, and have better access to USA markets.
That new centre is in addition to Lucideon’s facilities in South Carolina and New York State. This positioning gives us a great opportunity to take the business further onto the world stage and see our innovations have an impact internationally.
At the same time, bringing in young people with a love of science and technology and the appetite to make a difference is very rewarding. We’re increasing our workforce by more than 50% over the next three years, with roles both at our Stoke-on-Trent headquarters and overseas.