Home Business Services UK’s first incubator and accelerator driving innovation for the Foundation Industries bases...

UK’s first incubator and accelerator driving innovation for the Foundation Industries bases itself at Materials Processing Institute

Hallam Wheatley, Collaboration Lead, Glass Futures Ltd and Dr Lucy Smith, Head of Transformation, Materials Processing Institute.

The Materials Processing Institute has welcomed Foundation Industries Ventures (FIVe), the UK’s first business incubator and accelerator for innovation and decarbonisation within the foundation industries to its Teesside campus.

Not-for-profit FIVe will shortly announce which of the applicant organisations is to be first to access the incubator and take advantage of the specialist support available.

Founded by members of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Group, it supports start-ups and spinouts seeking to develop new and innovative materials, processes and technologies that will help foundation industries decarbonise.

It will offer the successful organisation flexible office, laboratory and event space, together with access to a network of tailored support, including finance, intellectual property, legal, human resources and health and safety training.

As well as providing serviced office and event space available for start-up and established enterprises, the Institute is a leading UK innovation centre for the foundation industries, undertaking research in advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, the circular economy, and digital technologies.

The FIVe initiative is led by Hallam Wheatley, who is collaboration lead for research and technology organisation Glass Futures, in conjunction with Dr Lucy Smith, the Materials Processing Institute’s head of transformation.

The Institute already collaborates with Glass Futures as they are both members of the Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium (FISC) which covers the metals, cement, chemicals, glass, ceramics and paper sectors. Its first project, funded by Innovate UK, is known as EconoMISER (Economic Materials Innovation for the Sustainable and Efficient Use of Resources).

Through EconoMISER the Institute has been able to commit to investments in equipment that is now available for both the foundation industries and also wider industry to access support for research, development and innovation.

Jon Bolton, chair of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “We wholeheartedly support the aims of FIVe which very much aligns with our own, that is the successful scaling and commercialisation of innovation to support the transition to a low carbon economy.”

Hallam Wheatley, who grew up in Saltburn and previously spent nine years with SABIC at the Wilton International site, working across manufacturing, R&D and technical marketing, said: “The foundation industries are absolutely vital but collectively emit 10 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions.

“By providing a vibrant, collaborative environment we’re hoping to support world changing ideas that will enable these vital sectors to have a sustainable future.”

Dr Lucy Smith added: “FIVe is our answer to unblocking some of the challenges faced by start-ups and spinouts by derisking their journey and helping them prove their ideas from lab-scale development to commercialisation.”
“We’ll also bridge the gap between incubator and accelerator, helping SMEs to transition and grow, supporting them with investment, expertise and the links and networks needed to propel them to success.”