Universities minister launches Liverpool’s £65 million research facility

The Right Honourable Greg Clark, Minister of State for Universities Science and Cities, led a ground breaking ceremony today to officially launch the University of Liverpool and Unilever’s £65 million Materials Innovation Factory.

The facility aims to accelerate research and reduce new product development times relevant to a range of sectors including Unilever’s Home Care and Personal Care Categories.

It will provide equipment at the cutting-edge of chemistry research to facilitate the discovery of new materials which have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, said: “Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory is another example of the significant investment we are making into exciting and game-changing research. Supporting collaboration across the industry will help the UK stand out as the best place in the world to do science.”


Supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, as part of the UK Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund, the Materials Innovation Factory is a unique public/private partnership between the University and Unilever.

The facility is expected to be occupied by a total of 250 researchers, including University staff, a team of Unilever scientists based at their global Research and Development (R&D) Centre for Home Care and Personal Care products in Port Sunlight, and a broad range of other industrial and academic partners.

University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, said: “The facility will be unparalleled in Europe, providing a new template for how researchers will work together in the future to meet society’s grand challenges and support the UK economy.

“The focus will be on creating a vibrant research community, helping to attract the best talent from across the globe and in doing so providing the unique opportunity for students to explore a spectrum of research and development – from fundamental science to product development.”

Next generation

Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight R&D, added: “The ground breaking event was immensely exciting and once the facility is completed, it will accelerate the research and development of new materials for our homecare and personal care innovations.

“The new facility will also allow us to collaborate with our other partners in a way we haven’t been able to do before.”

Construction of the 120,000 sq ft facility on Grove Street in Liverpool is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2016.


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