EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V026402/1
Title: Transforming the Foundation Industries: a Network+ Towards Value by Innovation
Principal Investigator: Reaney, Professor IM
Other Investigators:
Bernal Lopez, Professor S Sampson, Professor WW Pleydell-Pearce, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AKZO Nobel Aluminium Federation Ltd Breedon Cement Ltd
British Ceramic Confederation British Coatings Federation British Glass
British Steel Ltd Building Research Establishment (BRE) Celsa Steel UK
CFMS Services Ltd Confederation of Paper Industries Croda (Group)
Digital Catapult EDGE Digital Manufacturing Limited Ferroday Ltd
FeTu Ltd Glass Futures Ltd Goodwin Steel Castings
Hartree Centre Henry Royce Institute Imerys
Industry Wales IoM3 James Cropper Plc
Johnson Matthey Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry Liberty Steel UK
LKAB Minerals Ltd Lucideon Ltd Materials Processing Institute (MPI)
Mineral Products Association N8 Research Partnership North East Process Industry ClusterNEPIC
North West Business Leadership Team Northumbria, University of Policy Connect
PYROPTIK INSTRUMENTS LIMITED Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Ltd Sheffield Hallam University
Tata Steel Limited UK Steel Union Papertech Ltd
University of Liverpool University of Warwick Vesuvius UK
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2021 Ends: 31 December 2024 Value (£): 2,259,077
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design of Process systems Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Sep 2020 ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries Network Plus Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK Foundation Industries (Glass, Metals, Cement, Ceramics, Bulk Chemicals and Paper), are worth £52B to the UK economy, produce 28 million tonnes of materials per year and account for 10% of the UK total CO2 emissions. These industries face major challenges in meeting the UK Government's legal commitment for 2050 to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 100% relative to 1990, as they are characterised by highly intensive use of both resources and energy.

While all sectors are implementing steps to increase recycling and reuse of materials, they are at varying stages of creating road maps to zero carbon. These roadmaps depend on the switching of the national grid to low carbon energy supply based on green electricity and sustainable sources of hydrogen and biofuels along with carbon capture and storage solutions. Achievement of net zero carbon will also require innovations in product and process design and the adoption of circular economy and industrial symbiosis approaches via new business models, enabled as necessary by changes in national and global policies. Additionally, the Governments £4.7B National Productivity Investment Fund recognises the need for raising UK productivity across all industrial sectors to match best international standards. High levels of productivity coupled with low carbon strategies will contribute to creating a transformation of the foundation industry landscape, encouraging strategic retention of the industries in the UK, resilience against global supply chain shocks such as Covid-19 and providing quality jobs and a clean environment.

The strategic importance of these industries to UK productivity and environmental targets has been acknowledged by the provision of £66M from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support a Transforming Foundation Industries cluster. Recognising that the individual sectors will face many common problems and opportunities, the TFI cluster will serve to encourage and facilitate a cross sectoral approach to the major challenges faced. As part of this funding an Academic Network Plus will be formed, to ensure the establishment of a vibrant community of academics and industry that can organise and collaborate to build disciplinary and interdisciplinary solutions to the major challenges. The Network Plus will serve as a basis to ensure that the ongoing £66M TFI programme is rolled out, underpinned by a portfolio of the best available UK interdisciplinary science, and informed by cross sectoral industry participation.

Our network, initially drawn from eight UK universities, and over 30 industrial organisations will support the UK foundation industries by engaging with academia, industry, policy makers and non-governmental organisations to identify and address challenges and opportunities to co-develop and adopt transformative technologies, business models and working practices. Our expertise covers all six foundation industries, with relevant knowledge of materials, engineering, bulk chemicals, manufacturing, physical sciences, informatics, economics, circular economy and the arts & humanities. Through our programme of mini-projects, workshops, knowledge transfer, outreach and dissemination, the Network will test concepts and guide the development of innovative outcomes to help transform UK foundation industries. The Network will be inclusive across disciplines, embracing best practice in Knowledge Exchange from the Arts and Humanities, and inclusive of the whole UK academic and industrial communities, enabling access for all to the activity programme and project fund opportunities.

Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk