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Siobhan McArdle (Tees Valley LEP), Jonathan Neal (MPI), Joanne Whitfield (FW Capital), Ken Cooper (British Business Bank)

Materials Processing Institute

Partner:FW Capital

Region:Tees Valley


Programme:Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Siobhan McArdle (Tees Valley LEP), Jonathan Neal (MPI), Joanne Whitfield (FW Capital), Ken Cooper (British Business Bank)

Materials Processing Institute, a not-for-profit research and innovation centre based in Middlesbrough, secured a £750,000 investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, which is managed by FW Capital and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Founded as the British Iron & Steel Research Association in 1944, the Materials Processing Institute is now a globally recognised centre for the innovation, development and commercialisation of technology. Research is focussed on developments in advanced materials, achieving industrial decarbonisation through a low carbon and hydrogen future, deploying new digital technologies and reducing waste through a circular economy.

Funding from NPIF – FW Capital will allow the Institute to invest further into its asset base and technologies, improving research capabilities and its ability to rapidly accelerate industrial innovations, with a greater focus on decarbonisation and the production of new digital tools.  Developing a leading capability in metallography and microscopy that is best in the UK and one of the best in Europe.

This investment will also enable the Materials Processing Institute to expand the support services offered by its SME Technology Centre. Key activities of the Institute include working closely with the steel industry internationally, and the materials industry domestically, and also  supporting small and medium sized enterprises in the Tees Valley and beyond with the development and commercialisation of innovations and technology.

The Institute provides comprehensive support through its facilities and scientific and commercial expertise, this includes on-site pilot plant, scale up and demonstrator facilities creating new capability in advanced materials development, hydrogen as a low carbon fuel in steel and metals production, and application of digital technologies in metal processing. The Institute’s equipment and service also enable businesses to test, develop and demonstrate new technologies without the risks associated with full scale production.

To mark the investment, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s Yorkshire, Humber and Tees Valley Regional Advisory Board hosted its quarterly meeting and a networking event at Wynyard Hall, Billingham on 1st October. It was an opportunity for local stakeholders and partners to discuss the impact of NPIF funding, as well as the future of finance in the region.

Chris McDonald, CEO at the Materials Processing Institute, said: “There has been a huge uptake in demand for new innovation and digital technologies in recent years, with more businesses also looking to decarbonise their operations. I firmly believe we have the talent and means here in the Northeast to provide solutions to many of these contemporary challenges, and this funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will help us to further that cause.”

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have been a hotbed for industrial innovation for centuries; with world-famous industrialists such as railway pioneer George Stephenson and local chemist John Walker, inventor of the first friction match, honing their craft here. Organisations like Materials Processing Institute are hugely important to continuing that legacy and it’s fantastic to see the Institute secure this funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. Investments such as this are key to creating new opportunities here in our region.”

Ken Cooper at the British Business Bank, said: “It is an important focus of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to provide support to a range of businesses, of different sizes and sectors. The Materials Processing Institute is a hugely important organisation to local enterprises in the Tees Valley and aligns with the core principles of NPIF – to create economic prosperity in the North of England.”

Alexandra Gent, Investment Executive at FW Capital, said: “The Materials Processing Institute is at the forefront of Europe’s research and development activity, helping to encourage modernisation in an industry ready to embrace change through new circular, decarbonisation and digital technologies. Working with the team at the Materials Processing Institute has been a pleasure and we are proud to play a role in their future success, as it emerges strongly from the pandemic and gears up to assist.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

FW Capital Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a small authorised UK Alternative Investment Fund Manager under firm reference number 506719

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