A NORTH-EAST research and innovation centre has joined a UK-wide £35m project to support British manufacturing and steel jobs.

The Materials Processing Institute has become a partner of the SUSTAIN manufacturing hub, which is one of three £10m research hubs funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Its aim is to generate £35m in projects over a seven-year period.

SUSTAIN, based at Swansea University, has been co-created by the five major UK steel producers – Tata, Liberty, British Steel, Celsa, and Sheffield Forgemasters – along with Swansea, Warwick and Sheffield universities and other supporting partners, including the Materials Processing Institute.

The hub aims to provide academic leadership in sustainable steel innovation, influence policy, work with existing hubs and speed the implementation of research findings through to manufacture.

The Materials Processing Institute will sit on the advisory board for SUSTAIN and use its expertise in process control, energy and yield optimisation, pilot development and up-scaling to help implement the research ideas and support their translation into industry-ready solutions.

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “Innovation diffusion has long been a key area that needed attention and this investment will create and strengthen links between industry and world leading researchers.

"We have enjoyed many research partnerships with global manufacturers, and our involvement in this project will enhance our relations across industry, while supporting crucial advancements in UK manufacturing.

“Our expertise across process control, pilot development and up-scaling research will support SUSTAIN and the wider project immensely, and we are delighted to be involved as one of the partner organisations.”

Industry Minister Richard Harrington said: “This investment brings together world-class researchers and leading manufacturing firms to help revolutionise how key industries like steel operate in the future.

"These developments will help us build a smarter, greener and more efficient manufacturing sector in the UK which is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy to harness the opportunities of clean growth creating more high-skilled jobs.

“We are determined to ensure the UK sets the global best standard for making our energy intensive industries competitive in the new clean economy.”

MPI is a innovation centre serving organisations that work in advanced materials and low carbon energy.