£10 million open-access AMRICC Centre sets out the future for advanced ceramics at official launch

Date posted: February 23, 2024
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Jo Gideon MP with Connor Ayre, a degree apprentice at The AMRICC Centre

The official launch of The AMRICC Centre has showcased how the facility is positioning the Midlands region at the centre of the multi-billion pound global advanced ceramics sector.

Leaders across industry, academia and the public sector toured the Staffordshire site after Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Ceramics Industry, Jo Gideon MP, cut the ribbon and officially opened the £10 million research centre.

A world-first, the AMRICC Centre operates under an open-access format, translating materials, processes, and technologies into real-world products and solutions by enabling product and process development to be carried out at an industrially relevant scale.

Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “The AMRICC Centre is a fantastic facility, which will drive innovation in ceramics and advanced ceramics up to the next level.

“Advanced ceramics offer many opportunities for UK plc, and The AMRICC Centre is a brilliant addition for the sector. It is a world-beating facility for research and development and I am proud that it is in Staffordshire.”

The AMRICC Centre is the physical outcome from the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group’s (MICG) £18.27 million four-year research programme, funded by Government under UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund in 2021.

CEO of The AMRICC Centre, Dr Cathryn Hickey, said: “Forecasts for the the value of advanced ceramics industry in 2023 were £143 billion, and The AMRICC Centre places the Midlands region, an area long associated with ceramics, in a strong position to play a key role in this highly-valued sector.

“Prior to the official launch, we have been working on a series of projects which have been very well received in industry, and give an insight to the potential of the Centre going forward.”

The AMRICC Centre includes an equipment suite featuring over 350 pieces of high-value technology, collectively offering unique capabilities for users – coupled with the expertise of scientists, engineers, data scientists, and computational modellers to turn innovative ideas into market-ready technologies.

Overall financial sponsor Lucideon, a founding partner of the MICG, has championed the Centre, investing millions of pounds and providing access to industry expertise.

Rob Flello, CEO of the trade body Ceramics UK, added: “Ceramics are absolutely fundamental to every part of our lives and a facility like this enables further development, new ideas and creations, as well as testing existing ideas and perhaps finding new applications for them. It’s amazing.”

An important part of The AMRICC Centre’s remit is to partner with universities to provide an educational facility to train and support material scientists for the future, developing pipelines of talent from degree apprentices, through to post-doctoral graduates, to create new, educated, ambitious talent for the UK ceramics industry.

Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University, Professor Martin Jones, said: “We are committed to developing the ceramic and advanced materials’ economy and will be working with The AMRICC Centre with degree apprenticeships, making sure we have a skilled workforce in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and beyond.

“The facilities are amazing and offer an insight into the huge opportunities.”

A video of The AMRICC Centre opening can be viewed at The AMRICC Centre Launch Feb 2024 on Vimeo

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