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On Friday 5 October, over 150 guests from the University, Unilever, funding bodies, regional stakeholders and industry gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Materials Innovation Factory by the President of the Royal Society and Nobel Laureate, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan.
A collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Unilever, the £81 million facility brings together materials chemistry expertise with the latest computational and robotic equipment to accelerate research and reduce the time it takes to develop new products which have the potential to address a range of societal challenges.
Sir Venki Ramakrishnan said: “Whether it is human health, sustainability or a range of other areas, advanced materials offer tools by which we can tackle some of the big challenges we face on the global stage. The range of expertise here in Liverpool can make a big contribution to meeting those challenges and to driving economic growth.”
Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: “The opening of the Materials Innovation Factory is an important milestone for the University of Liverpool. The institution is known for its world-class research in advanced materials and these impressive new facilities will serve to further accelerate progress.”
David Blanchard, Chief Research & Development Officer at Unilever, said: “This is an important next step for the partnership between Unilever and the University of Liverpool and a signal of our continued commitment to investment in the UK.”
Sam Gyimah MP, Science and Universities minister said: “This inspiring facility bring together some of the UK’s most talented scientists and academics, with cutting edge robots and computers, to meet the future challenges our society will face.”
Professor Andy Cooper paid tribute to the team who made the project happen, and, in particular, he recognised the contribution Dr Simon Longden, Managing Director of the Materials Innovation Factory, had made to making the project succeed.
Located in the heart of the city’s Knowledge Quarter, the Materials Innovation Factory was awarded £11m through the government’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), a programme administered by Research England (formerly HEFCE), which helped secure significant private co-investment towards the project.
The facility also houses the Liverpool contribution to the Henry Royce Institute, a national institute for materials science research and innovation.
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