In the 2014 Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the funding of a £28m National Formulation Centre, which the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has been instrumental in developing.
The new £28m Centre, to be based at CPI in Sedgefield, will form a hub and spoke model bringing together an existing strong knowledge base of the UK. The spokes of the new centre will include universities, innovation centres and will provide facilities and expertise to help companies to develop, prove, prototype and scale up formulated products and processes.
Complex formulated products are abundant in everyday and industrial life; examples include perfumes, medicines, cosmetic creams, washing powder, processed foods, paints, adhesives, lubricants, composite materials and pesticides and underpin many sectors in the UK economy. The new centre will focus specifically on the areas of product and process design, delivery, stability and sustainability as identified by UK industry in a 2013 consultation report.
The UK formulation industry is underpinned by a strong academic and industrial infrastructure involving particle design and colloid science, modelling and simulation, bespoke measurement and high-throughput automation. The centre will build on CPI’s existing expertise in both formulated product and process design, and will collaborate closely with universities and companies to create a strong route to commercialisation.
There is an existing strong UK knowledge base in formulation but it is fragmented, disconnected and is notoriously difficult to navigate. The KTN will work with the new national innovation centre to help lever, connect and build on these activities to the benefit of the UK supply chain.
Formulation has been a priority area for the KTN after being charged by Innovate UK to identify ways to support UK innovation and growth through investment in formulation. This led the KTN to define an Innovate UK Collaborative R&D competition on ‘Formulated Products: Meeting the Product and Process Design Challenges’ in 2013, and help broker partnerships between members, which subsequently resulted in a public investment of £9.2m.
The success of the Formulated Products competition demonstrated the industry appetite in formulation and added weight to the process of preparing a model and business case for a National Formulation Centre. The KTN engaged industry from multiple sectors, and of various sizes, to align the centre to their needs and with the existing academic and knowledge base.
The KTN worked closely with BIS, CPI, Innovate UK, the HVM Catapult, and the Chemistry Growth Partnership, to maximise the chances of success, through strong lobbying and strengthening of the business case, and is delighted with the announcement that the centre is now to be funded.
For more information and to discuss further, please contact Darren Regheb, Formulated Products Lead, KTN: Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.