Home Manufacturing & Industry Materials Processing Institute committed to encouraging innovation through workforce diversity

Materials Processing Institute committed to encouraging innovation through workforce diversity

(L-R): Chris McDonald, Catherine Fennell and Amit Rana

The Materials Processing Institute is encouraging more people from diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in innovative technologies.

The Teesside-based not-for-profit research and innovation centre wants to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, and researchers to support its work in the development of advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, the circular economy, and digital technologies.

Chris McDonald, the Institute’s Chief Executive, said that women, ethnic minorities, and those from low socio-economic backgrounds are traditionally under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The Institute has a proud history of creating an open and welcoming working environment and is committed to supporting and maintaining a culture of equality and diversity – where staff can fulfil their potential.


It has already recruited 12 people since the start of November. Seven of those roles are STEM-related and include several women and those from an ethnic minority background.

In addition, Thomas Hughes, of Middlesbrough, who is studying Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University, is part way through a 12-month research placement.

Many of the new positions have arisen due to PRISM, a programme of research and innovation to support the UK’s steels and metals sector in the fields of decarbonisation, digital technologies, and the circular economy. The Institute is delivering the programme with funding provided through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Catherine Fennell, who was recently appointed a principal researcher in advanced materials, said: “We need to continuously create awareness of opportunities and encourage future generations of women to study STEM subjects within the education system as this route can offer a range of hugely rewarding careers.”

Amit Rana, who has also joined the Institute as a principal researcher in advanced materials, added: “I support the Institute’s actions in promoting workplace diversity and in highlighting the opportunities available within the research and innovation sector to those traditionally under-represented groups who believe science, technology and engineering is just not for them.”

The Institute is continuing to recruit for several vacancies including IT apprentice, data scientist, instrumentation engineer and process development engineer and would welcome applications from traditionally under-represented groups including people with disabilities or the lgbt+ community.

Chris added: “I’m personally motivated to create a workplace where people are respected, treated fairly, and where talent is nurtured and valued. We welcome people whatever their backgrounds.

“The Institute is committed to encouraging those who have either never considered a STEM career or have felt excluded. As a result, it promotes a positive culture of inclusion.

“Greater diversity drives innovation and creativity, and we recognise its importance in recruiting and retaining skills and talent. STEM careers not only deliver high levels of job satisfaction but provide an opportunity to play a key role in a variety of cutting-edge sectors that will shape this country’s future.”

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