CPI and Durham University to Commercialise Nanotechnology

08 Dec 2017

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Durham University today announced a new collaboration to help SMEs in County Durham to accelerate the commercialisation of nanomaterial-enhanced products, supported with funds from the European Regional Development Fund.

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The project, entitled Collaborative Outreach in Applied Surface engineering Technologies’ (COAST), will support the development of customised nanoparticles from university research into commercially viable engineered surfaces and composites. The partnership brings together Durham University’s expertise in nanomaterials and synthesis of engineered particles, with CPI’s capabilities to enhance up-scaling, prototyping and applications of the technology, in order to help local SMEs realise the market value of their innovations.

Nanomaterials and surface engineering are forecast to be a major disruptive technology, with their lightweight and enhanced properties presenting energy-efficient applications in industries such as aerospace, automotive and offshore. The project is exclusively available to businesses in County Durham, meaning COAST will capitalise on the developing nanomaterial ecosystem in the area to attract inward investment and create high value new jobs in both the SME community and supply chain. The region is home to a significant proportion of the UK’s nanomaterials capability, as exemplified by CPI’s work on graphene.

COAST combines cutting-edge research from Durham University with state-of-the-art scale-up and testing facilities from CPI

The COAST project will be delivered from existing CPI facilities within the North East Technology Park (NETPark) site and a bespoke laboratory at Durham University. To underpin the programme, CPI has also developed a wide range of business support tools to promote innovation, product design and business excellence. It is hoped that the COAST project will establish successful links between higher education and businesses to create sustainable delivery of engineered surfaces beyond culmination of the project in 2020

This ambitious project aims to support the development and growth of small County Durham companies in the exciting technology of nanomaterials,” said Dr. Robin Brinham, Project Manager of the COAST project at CPI. Combining cutting-edge research from Durham University with state-of-the-art scale-up and testing facilities at CPI will provide a powerful springboard for the growth of this high technology industry in County Durham, and we are proud to be a part of that.

Professor Karl Coleman, Head of the Department of Chemistry at Durham University and academic lead for the COAST project said: This is a great opportunity for CPI and Durham to work together to help local industry take a national lead in the commercialisation of nanomaterial-enhanced products and materials. The Chemistry Department and Durham University are committed to supporting the local region and are looking forward to working with and propelling forward our high-tech local SMEs.”

Notes to the Editor

About CPI

The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The company uses applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state of the art development facilities to enable its clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.

Established to support the UK process manufacturing industry, CPI collaborates with universities, SMEs and large corporations to help overcome innovation challenges. Operating across a broad range of technologies, partners are supported at every stage; from concept to market; business support to technology development; and from scale up to supply chain intervention. 

CPI consists of dedicated national innovation centres that support industrial biotechnology and biorefining, printable electronics, biologics and formulation. The centres enable advancements in major markets such as healthcare, electronics, food and drink, aerospace, automotive, materials, and energy. These world leading, digitally enabled and open access facilities are available for partners to get their products and processes to market quickly with minimal risk. Utilising strong networks, CPI brings together a range of partners in the delivery of innovation projects, with a common goal of strengthening the UK’s position in High Value Manufacturing.

About Durham University

  • A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education (QS 2018 and THE World University Rankings 2018)
  • Ranked fourth in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and fifth in the 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
  • A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities
  • Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students
  • Ranked 34 globally for the employability of its students by blue-chip companies world-wide (QS World University Rankings 2018)
  • Highest rate of employment and further study in the UK for undergraduates completing their first degree (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2017/18).
  • The Chemistry Department at Durham University was rated 1st for impact across the whole of the chemistry departments in the UK in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). The impact tables are a measure of how research work done in universities makes a difference in terms of the economy and society.

About European Regional Development Fund

The project has received £2.7 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 – 2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects that will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

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