The Materials Team in KTN covers a broad scope of the materials life cycle, from feedstock, processing techniques, design and manufacture, testing, standardisation, resource efficiency and circularity.

The team has 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 KTN 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 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

ISCF SSPP Collecting flexible plastic packaging waste at home

Opens: 27/02/2023 Closes: 12/04/2023

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £250,000 to develop innovative ideas that help with the collection of flexible packaging waste from households.

More Information

European Commission Plastics Related Funding & tender opportunities

Opens: 01/03/2023 Closes: 22/02/2024

Horizon Europe funding for reducing plastic pollution, pollutant monitoring, circular economy, and biodegradation validation. Various closing dates.

More Information

Resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing: CR&D

Opens: 31/03/2023 Closes: 26/05/2023

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £12 million for ambitious collaborative R&D projects to support UK materials and manufacturing organisations to become significantly more resource efficient.

More Information

Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D

Opens: 07/03/2023 Closes: 03/05/2023

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £12 million for collaborative research and development. This is to develop step-change improvements to sustainable biomanufacturing in the UK.

More Information

Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds 2023

Opens: 13/03/2023 Closes: 15/05/2023

Grant funding will be made available to stimulate the development and testing of new ideas that can help improve the ecological condition of woodlands, and their resilience to climate change, via increased demand for wood and increased levels of woodland management.

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Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme 2023

Opens: 21/03/2023 Closes: 21/04/2023

Apply now to be part of the Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme for 2023. Innovate UK KTN will select up to 15 SMEs to join the programme to accelerate their investment journey.

More Information

Related Events and Recordings


Sustainable Plastics Live / GRIPS 2023

09.00 - 17.00 GMT | Coventry

Register for this event

Reimagine Materials and Manufacturing Event

10.00 - 16.00 | London

Register for this event

Digital Modernisation of Textiles and Fashion

10.00 - 16.00 | Manchester

Event slides now available
See all events

Our Experts

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The UK’s changing rare earth landscape

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Investor Showcase at Materials Research Exchange 2022


Investor Showcase at Materials Research Exchange 2022

The MRE Investor Showcase event offers a gateway to some of the UK’s leading innovators who are bringing ground-breaking ideas to fruition, directly into the advanced materials sector. Participating in this year’s Investor Showcase were 23 exciting companies across the materials value chain, including metamaterials, materials for space, graphene, bio-based materials, energy and construction materials.

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Programmes related to Materials

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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