The Materials Team at Innovate UK Business Connect covers a broad scope of the materials life cycle, from feedstock, processing techniques, design and manufacture, testing, standardisation, resource efficiency and circularity.

We have strong engagement with the entire value chain, from academic researchers, materials developers through to end-users who make products from these materials and businesses who manage end-of-product life issues.  We add value in making the connections that matter.

Materials underpin many applications in our economy. Innovative materials science, engineering and technologies make direct and positive impact on economic growth, the environment and quality of life, through improved processes and products, throughout their lifecycle. The impact of materials is forecast to be even greater as businesses respond to the growing trend in electrification of transport, the drive towards net zero emissions and a comprehensive digital economy.

As a team, we work with industry to make sure that new developments in materials find a useful home to improve the UK economy, environment and quality of life. We bring together the materials supply chain to accelerate innovation, improve productivity and ensure resilience in meeting the needs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users.

Our current focus in this area

The UK Circular Plastics Network (UKCPN) aims to bring together the diverse users of plastic products and realise the best means for reducing plastic waste entering the environment through a programme of networking and knowledge-sharing events and related support activities.

The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging activity at Innovate UK Business Connect is proactively driving engagement and collaboration as part of the core programme of the UKRI ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP).

Situated in our industrial heartlands, these sectors include metals, ceramics, glass, chemicals, paper and cement, producing 28m tonnes of material per year, and are worth £52bn annually to the UK economy.

Composite materials consist of two different materials with different physical and chemical properties. When they are combined, they create a composite material which has superior properties to the original two materials.

Textiles are everywhere in modern society. Technical Textiles are defined as materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics.

Graphene and other novel two-dimensional (2D) materials have sustained strong interest from academia and industry owing to their unique combination of material properties. These properties, which include strength, thermal and electrical conductivity, are found to be superior to those exhibited by other advanced materials.

Metamaterials are artificial composite materials, engineered to exhibit unique electromagnetic properties. Metamaterial devices are poised to grow to $10.7 billion globally by 2030 in 5G networks, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, and more.

Smart Functional Materials are defined as those materials that change significantly one or more of their physical or chemical native properties when subjected to changes in their environment, thus rendering them stimuli-responsive.

Ceramics and glass materials exhibit high strength, high elastic modulus and are electrical and thermal insulators. Advanced ceramics and glasses are engineered to optimise its mechanical, electrical, magnetic and optical properties.

Related Opportunities

Accelerated Knowledge Transfer 3 (AKT3) 2024: Circular Fashion

Opens: 01/07/2024   Closes: 31/07/2024

UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £1m for innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits.

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Innovate UK Textile Fund 2024

Opens: 14/06/2024   Closes: 31/07/2024

An exciting opportunity for businesses in the UK fashion and textile sector who are looking to develop innovative solutions to pressing industry challenges.

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Innovation Exchange challenge: Sustainable materials in modular outdoor structures

Opens: 11/06/2024   Closes: 31/07/2024

Supporting the UK arm of a major blue-chip international organisation to identify sustainable materials and manufacturers for outdoor exposure structures.

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Innovation Exchange challenge: Sustainable, high mass, highly finished, monolithic structures

Opens: 11/06/2024   Closes: 01/08/2024

Supporting the UK arm of a major blue-chip international organisation to identify sustainable materials and manufacturers to replace existing precast concrete components.

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Connecting concrete supply chain to innovators

Opens: 05/07/2024   Closes: 02/08/2024

Would you like to connect with innovators who are developing solutions to decarbonise concrete?

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Connecting innovators in concrete to supply chain partners

Opens: 05/07/2024   Closes: 19/07/2024

If you are developing innovation towards decarbonising concrete, apply now to be connected with potential supply chain partners.

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Related Events and Recordings


Materials Research Exchange (MRE) 2024

09.00 - 16.30 | London

Recording coming soon

Resource-efficient or bio-based materials and manufacturing

10.30 - 11.30 GMT | Online

Watch now
See all events

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Related programmes

Metamaterials Landscape Map

Metamaterials Landscape Map

Connecting the value chain of the UK Metamaterials community with industry, research expertise and business support to drive commercialisation.

Net Zero Chemicals Landscape

Net Zero Chemicals Landscape

Connecting the UK’s growing Chemicals community with industrial collaborators, research-base expertise, investment opportunities and funders.

Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains

Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains

This £15 million programme will support the development of resilient UK based supply chains for rare earth elements, with a focus on primary (mine to magnet) and secondary (End of Life to magnet) supply chains.

For general enquiries regarding our Materials sector contact us now


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