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Cardiff supports Foundation Industries green recovery research consortium

7 June 2021

Cardiff University will join a research consortium examining how the Foundation Industries can grow and develop while helping achieve the Net Zero 2050 environmental targets.

Professor Rossi Setchi, Director of Research at the School of Engineering, and Professor Sam Evans have secured £400k funding from the Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund as part of TransFIRE, the new Transforming Foundation Industries Research and Innovation Hub.

The Cardiff team will work closely with the metal industry to create new, smart materials and processes that enable cheaper, lower energy and low carbon products.

TransFIRe (Transforming Foundation Industries Research and Innovation hub) was developed in response to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund call to transform the Foundation Industries: chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, metals and paper.

These industries produce 75% of all materials in the UK economy and are vital for the UK’s manufacturing and construction industries. Together, the Foundation Industries are worth £52 billion to the UK economy and produce 28 million tonnes of materials per year, accounting for about 10% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.

The UK Government wants to make these industries more internationally competitive, to secure jobs in these industries and help them grow. UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) has allocated £4.7 M for three years to work with universities, research organisations and industry, to assist with technology development and transfer, new business developments and new opportunities in materials and technologies to help to achieve the Net Zero 2050 target.

TransFIRe, led by Cranfield University, is a consortium of 20 researchers from 12 institutions, 49 companies and 14 non-governmental organisations related to the sectors, with expertise across the foundation industries as well as energy mapping, life cycle and sustainability, industrial symbiosis, computer science, AI and digital manufacturing, management and business, social sciences and technology transfer.

TransFIRe is led by Professor Mark Jolly, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University and includes investigators from Bangor, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds, Northumbria, Sheffield Hallam and York universities and the British Geological Survey.

This programme will develop a self-sustaining Hub of expertise to support the Foundation Industries' transformation into non-polluting, resource efficient modern competitive manufactories working in harmony with the communities in which they are situated, providing attractive places to be employed with unparalleled ED&I performance.

The Hub will also help industries like metals, glass, cement, paper and glass to address their common challenges while accelerating the development and adoption of new technologies and business models.

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