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Business Minister Andrea Leadsom sees graphene innovation first-hand

04 Oct 2019

The GEIC hosted a visit by as VIP visit from Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this week


Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited the University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) to learn more about the advanced materials landscape at Manchester.

The minister, who was accompanied by Deputy President and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Luke Georghiou, heard from James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester, on how this flagship facility is helping to rapidly accelerate the development and commercialisation of new graphene technologies.

During the tour, the minister saw examples of graphene products such as the world’s first graphene sports shoes - a collaboration between the University and British company inov-8, as well as street lighting, water filtration technology and graphene enhanced carbon fibre, concrete and building materials.

After the tour, a series of roundtable discussions were held, including engagement with local SMEs. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the Bridging the gap project based at the GEIC has been developed to proactively engage Greater Manchester based SMEs and new ventures to allow them to overcome challenges, and explore and apply graphene and other advanced 2D materials in a wide range of applications and markets.

Professor Luke Georghiou said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the minister to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. The facilities at the GEIC have given us an important boost in our ambition to build a world-leading ecosystem in Manchester for innovation in 2-D materials and to realise the huge economic and social benefits from their application.”

James Baker added: “Graphene has reached a tipping point and we are now seeing real-world benefits living up to the early excitement of just a few years ago. Collaboration is key to realising graphene’s potential, building a community of partners will accelerate the step change in graphene’s commercial prospects.”

The GEIC focuses on creating, testing and optimising new concepts for delivering products to market as well as the processes needed to scale up production and build and maintain a supply chain.

Working with the University’s National Graphene Institute, the GEIC complements their research with work to act as the cornerstone for Graphene City - an ambitious vision from the University that aims to create a thriving knowledge base economy around Manchester’s revolutionary material.