A flurry of new contacts were announced at the London 2012 Business Summit yesterday, including a £60m pledge from BP to finance an International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM).
The new international centre will support fundamental science and the engineering application of advanced materials – those with superior qualities such as toughness, hardness, durability and elasticity in the energy sector.
The University of Manchester will act as a hub, with ‘spokes’ in other universities around the world that have topic-relevant specific areas of expertise.
So far, the educational establishments that have been confirmed are: Cambridge University, Imperial College, London and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Business Secretary Vince Cable praised the collaboration between industry and academic institutions in the UK: “Collaboration between business and higher education institutions is boosting the status of the UK as a driver of innovation, and giving our firms a competitive edge.”
“I’m pleased that BP has chosen to partner with a number of our world class universities to find new and more efficient ways of using and generating power,” he added.
The BP-ICAM is a strategic, long term investment, with BP committing £60m over 10 years to the network of universities. It will create 25 new academic posts, at least 100 PhDs and 80 post-Docs, and help maintain the world-leading status of the UK in the research of advanced materials.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, vice chancellor of Manchester University, said of the investment from BP: “We look forward to working closely with the University of Cambridge, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Imperial College London as the founding spokes of the ICAM.”
Italy’s largest chemical producer, Versalis, will commit Eu50m to the expansion of elastomer production capacity at its Grangemouth site in Scotland. The investment is expected to help service technical developments in the automotive tyre manufacture market.