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National Materials Innovation Strategy Framework

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In 2023 Royce is seeking to promote and support the development of a National Materials Innovation Strategy. To achieve this, we will need to draw on the UK’s research community (and international connections).

A national strategy for materials innovation is needed to deliver a coherent approach across Government, industry and the wider materials technology community.

Materials underpins manufacturing, and the UK is one of the largest global manufacturing nations, contributing £203 billion every year to GVA and supporting 5 million jobs. 84% of this manufacturing takes place outside of London and the South East. The importance of materials to the UK economy is clear.

Stage One

Stage one of this Strategy Process sees the launch of a Materials Innovation Strategy Framework which is aimed at ensuring the UK has a world-leading position in rapidly expanding materials markets, substantially enhancing the value of some of the largest UK- based industries and ensuring materials science researchers and innovators are supported in commercialising translating their ground-breaking discoveries into game-changing products and services.

Materials Futures: Growing the UK’s critical capabilities in materials innovation is the consultation document for this work which was launched at an Advanced Materials Showcase at the House of Commons. It aligns with the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) new Science and Technology Framework, which sets out the key actions needed to secure strategic advantage through science and technology, identifying and pursuing the technologies that are most critical to achieving UK policy objectives.

Royce has facilitated this initial Framework document, designed to kick-start a National Strategy for Materials Innovation which will identify and prioritise high-potential areas where materials innovation can make an impact in creating new and significant forms of value while addressing national priorities.

Materials underpins manufacturing, and the UK is one of the largest global manufacturing nations, contributing £203 billion every year to GVA and supporting 5 million jobs. 84% of this manufacturing takes place outside of London and the South East. The importance of materials to the UK economy is therefore clear.

Materials Innovation Leadership Group: Expression of Interest

Royce is now seeking leaders from industry and key research organisations to become part of a Materials Innovation Leadership Group to own the outputs and drive implementation plans, and to be part of an alliance for materials that will provide opportunities to collaborate, to work with Government and above all, to grow the materials innovation pipeline. Interested parties can submit an Expression of Interest final appointments will be made through an independent review process

Supported by




Professor David Knowles
Royce CEO


“As the UK’s national institute for advanced materials Royce is pleased to facilitate this important strategy development work, which recognises that our national materials innovation capabilities are a significant asset and a strategic approach to managing them is therefore essential in ensuring the UK is the most effective exploiter of materials innovation in the world. More than ever materials innovation has to be accelerated in the UK if it is going to deliver against the needs of major challenges such as net zero, health improvements, sustainable use of resources and, of course, underpin a robust economy.

“We know that the UK leads the way in materials R&D, however it does lag other countries in its ability to translate all that effort and commercialise new and improved materials. Today is a “Call To Arms” particularly to industry leaders around the UK to join forces with us to develop a focussed strategy designed to ensure we urgently expedite the translation of this research into new products and services.”


A Strategic Framework for Materials Innovation will support the scoping, definition and appropriate grouping of:

  • National and industrial sector priorities including trends and drivers, market needs and industrial sectors
  • Key application and process developments to which materials innovation can contribute via value-creation opportunities
  • Materials innovations to support these applications and processes and further highlight needs for cross-sector collaborations
  • The associated non-technological supporting enablers

In addition, mapping the main elements of supply and value chains for key markets will enable the identification of value-creation opportunities and key material innovations that generate the most economic, societal and environmental value.

The framework has been designed to be used in a series of sequential steps. Multiple priority value creation opportunities can be explored and analysed in parallel enabling numerous cross-sector insights and actions to emerge.

As the sequence is followed, consolidation of the outputs will aggregate key materials innovations, recommendations and actions so that industry, academia and policymakers may act in a coordinated fashion, thus addressing the need for the materials community to “speak with one voice.” The process of applying the framework has six key steps:

1.  Cross-sectoral clustering of the national materials innovation scene for engagement and deeper analysis

2.  Identification of national priorities for the relevant economic, social, and environmental trends and drivers for new and emerging materials developments

3.  Identification of high-priority cross-sector opportunities for detailed exploration and development – a combination of both 1 and 2

4.  Identification and assessment of the materials innovation contribution to each opportunity area, including associated risks and uncertainties in the opportunity workstreams

5.  Confirmation of cross-sector priorities and identification of associated enabling actions required by the opportunity workstreams

6.  Strategy consolidation including overall recommendations and actions

The key associated gaps, barriers, enablers and interfaces in technology translation and commercialisation will be considered. Ultimately, the strategy should provide recommendations for:

1.  Funding and other support for the commercialisation and translation of materials capabilities; technologies, and know-how, to support the acceleration of the materials commercialisation cycle. It is also possible that new areas of materials research are signalled to existing funding bodies.

2.  Encouraging the development of investment vehicles including public-private partnerships may bridge the gap between basic research and commercialization, and can lead to the development of new materials.

3.  Providing incentives for companies to invest in new materials innovation and adoption. This can include tax credits, grants, and other forms of financial support to help offset the costs of research and development. In addition, the government can provide regulatory incentives to encourage the adoption of new materials in key industries.

4.  Supporting education and training programmes in materials science and engineering. The development of a skilled workforce in materials science and engineering is critical to the success of a national materials innovation strategy.


The Materials Innovation Strategy Development will use a top-down process and will be underpinned by a system-wide perspective of the whole materials ecosystem. This process will prioritise material innovations which will deliver maximum benefit for the country, with the following key Policy drivers:

Getting to net zero: the creation and use of materials technologies that lower greenhouse gases – for example Anodes and conductive membranes for batteries and fuel cells enabling the scaling of renewable energy sources.

Growing a high-wage, highly skilled workforce: the fostering of productive industries that provide employment and drive the development of new skills  – for example developing new competencies for the computational management of material lifecycles (Materials 4.0) accelerating material discovery and manufacture.

Strengthening the UK as a global technology leader: extending our world-leading capabilities in research, development, innovation and commercialisation; for example next-generation low energy loss electronic materials which will drive a transition to much more energy-efficient information and communications devices.

Rebalancing the UK economy: winning investment for growth across the regions through the application of research and the commercialisation or scaling of solutions, for example sustainable fibre composite materials enabled through SME-pioneered recycling processes, stimulating regional growth.

Supporting national resilience and security: maintaining a technology-enabled national security capability and building resilience to global supply chain disruptions, for example quantum computing, enabled by high-temperature superconductors, improving positioning technologies for autonomous aircraft.

Enabling healthy, happy lives: delivering healthcare and creating a built environment that supports a thriving population, for example biocompatible implants and regenerative materials for vascular tissue healing and replacement.

Feedback on the Materials Innovation Strategy Framework 

The initial draft Strategy Framework has been developed and populated with example data, illustration outputs, and a possible high-level approach to stage 2 Strategy development.

A workshop was held on 9 March 2023 with a broad range of key stakeholders from across the materials community, to develop and validate the emerging framework and prepare for the national launch event to announce the development of the strategy. In the workshop, the following activities were conducted:

  • Understanding key stakeholders and their needs
  • Developing the main messages to be presented at the launch event for the strategy development
  • Reviewing the overall framework and the process for the strategy development

We are now inviting the broader materials community to provide feedback on the Strategy, which will in turn feed into the proposed Materials Innovation Leadership Group,  who will use this strategy framework to systematically prioritise, develop and articulate the innovation enablers that will deliver results for industry and the UK.

The Materials Innovation Leadership Group will oversee the development and implementation of the strategy through to 2024. They will do so through a series of interconnecting processes, that answer the key questions of “why, what, and how” for UK materials innovation capabilities growth

Please provide your comments (up to 300 words) on the Materials Innovation Strategy Framework.

We encourage those submitting feedback to provide a single response on behalf of their organisation.


Material Futures

Executive Summary Report

National Materials Innovation Strategy Framework
Stage 1

Consultation Draft

Slides from the Advanced Materials Showcase, 20 April 2023