Materials Research Exchange 2018 – a resounding success

Posted on: 14/03/2018

The 2018 Materials Research Exchange & Investor Showcase (MRE2018) took place on March 12 and 13 at the Business Design Centre in London.

The event, which last ran in 2014, was hailed an outstanding success with over 70 exhibitors showcasing their latest products, and 1,300 delegates attended across the two days.

MRE2018 was officially opened by Lord Haskel, Deputy Speaker of House of Lords.

The 2 day conference and exhibition welcomed over 80 influential speakers from across the industry and from within the wider industries with an interest in the materials sector.

Speakers from the conference included:


Dr Ruth McKernan CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate UK

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, EPSRC

Rebecca Endean, Director of Strategy, UK Research & Innovation

Sue Dunkerton, Director, Knowledge Transfer Network

Andrew Hosty, Chief Executive Officer, Henry Royce Institute

Deidre Fox, Director, Strategic Business Development, Tata Steel

Leela Biant, Head of Dept, Trauma & Orthopaedics, University of Manchester

Duncan Fitzsimons, Director, 7TH Design & Invention

Jacqui Murray, Interim Director, Faraday Challenge & Head of Advanced Materials, Innovate UK

Bryan Allcock, Chief Executive Officer, TRL9

Simon Edmonds, Director , Manufacturing and Materials, Innovate UK

Chris Warkup, Chief Executive Officer, Knowledge Transfer Network


On display at the event was a poster competition entered by graduate research students from  universities across the UK, sponsored by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and the winner was announced as Alexandra Groves, University College London.

The event also hosted teams of design students from Brunel University, Queen Mary University London and the Royal College of Art for the MaDE Challenge – Design for Materials Commercialisation.


The UK is an acknowledged global hub of excellence in materials research, and the importance of advanced materials as one of the technologies for future growth will propel the UK economy to future success. MRE2018 provided an excellent platform to develop commercial success of UK-generated materials innovation by showcasing the groundbreaking new materials and processes to industry, to accelerate the process of taking these through to commercialisation.


Organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the event showcased the richness of the UK materials research and investment opportunities, providing an ideal opportunity to absorb current trends and take a glimpse of future innovations, as well as building links within the materials supply chain to strengthen the UK materials offer to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and end users.


Dr Robert Quarshie, Head of Materials at the Knowledge Transfer Network said:

“Materials Research Exchange 2018 has been a phenomenal success and is the established event focussed on research in the innovation of materials. The event attracted delegates from not only across the materials sector but a much wider range of sectors, as it provided a unique forum for increasing interactions between industry, researchers and policymakers from a range of disciplines and market sectors, across supply chains.”

Ben Walsh, Lead Technologist in Advanced Materials at Innovate UK added:

“Innovation in Advanced materials is a UK strength and we were delighted to co-organise this exciting cross-sector conference. The event demonstrated the depth and breadth of UK materials research and presented opportunities to companies to grow their businesses through the research and innovation support available.”

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