Sir Peter Gregson reflects on some themes arising from the March Governing Board Meeting

Talking Points

In this first in the series of Talking Points, Sir Peter Gregson, Henry Royce Institute Chair, reflects on some themes arising from the March Governing Board Meeting which took place at Royce Partner the University of Oxford.

An influential Community

Royce is emerging as an influential community of scientists, engineers and support staff from academia, industry and government; they use our facilities in the pursuit of world-class research, seek to find solutions to the materials challenges faced by industry and help to shape a national research strategy for Advanced Materials for a Sustainable Society.

At the Governing Board meeting it was agreed that those who are actively involved in the research, training or operational activities of Royce will be recognised as Royce Affiliates. 

We will be inviting our affiliates to use the Henry Royce Institute as a joint association alongside their home institution.  We value their contribution to Royce, and we trust that Royce will become an important part of their professional life.  

Powered by Partnership 

Royce is grounded in scientific discovery, the very first step in the innovation journey. At this meeting we heard and saw for ourselves how research from hydrogen to electrochemistry for batteries and electrocatalysts is underpinned by partnership – within the Royce Community and beyond.

“Green Hydrogen” has emerged as one of the most pressing innovations to help us meet our net-zero goals, and the Royce landscape report Materials for end-to-end hydrogen sets out the priority materials challenges to be addressed for accelerated hydrogen production, storage and distribution – from materials’ accreditation to the development of advanced catalysts.  This work is informing EPSRC’s investment in hydrogen research facilities, including electrocatalyst discovery, electrolyser testing, and materials degradation. 

Throughout our tour of the Royce-funded facilities at Oxford, the power of the partnerships being fostered by Royce was evident – from the leverage of Royce funding within each partner institution to the academic and industrial collaborations across the Royce community (especially Imperial, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield) underpinning world class electrochemistry research for sustainable transport and energy systems.

Excellent Facilities 

World-class research is made possible through the investment in state-of-the-art equipment across Royce Partners, alongside easy access for both academia and industry. It was fantastic to see the Royce facilities in Oxford’s Rex Richards Building becoming fully operational.  I’m looking forward to next month’s opening of the Royce Discovery Centre in Sheffield which provides a national focus for advanced metals processing for medical implants, electric vehicles, green hydrogen energy storage, and nuclear fusion reactors.

This was an enlightening Governing Board meeting for me, and I’m grateful for the extra-ordinary commitment of all involved in the development of our national institute.  Royce is emerging as an influential community, powered by partnerships and providing access to excellent facilities to academia, government and industry in the UK and beyond.