University announces new graphene partners


Two more companies have finalised collaborative partnerships with The University of Manchester to work on graphene applications of the future.

Morgan Advanced Materials and 2D-Tech have both agreed long-term research collaborations with the National Graphene Institute (NGI), the £61m centre at the University set to open in early 2015.

The news coincided with the first industry tour of the NGI this week, when representatives from 15 companies including AkzoNobel, Tata and BAE Systems were the first to tour the NGI just months before it opens its doors.

The industry group also formed the Advisory Panel for the £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), which will fill a critical gap in the ecosystem for graphene and 2-D material research, development, and application in the UK.

Also revealed today for the first time is the first of three graphene-related videos from The University of Manchester, showing how our research in partnership with industry could create real-life applications. The first film, on graphene membranes, can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8NxvkwkhiI&list=UUoonWbmbowBclSh0Gak4qlw.

The partnership with Morgan Advanced Materials will explore the full potential of graphene, with a particular interest in understanding and optimising the relationship between the manufacturing process and materials science. The partnership has been established to improve the prospects of bringing this material to commercial reality.

2D-Tech, which was a company spun-out of The University of Manchester in 2013, was taken over by Versarien earlier this year. The collaboration will initially focus on projects in graphene/polymer nanocomposites and 2D inks but will look develop further project opportunities and to grow into a strategic partnership.

The two firms join more than 30 partners currently working on graphene research and commercialisation projects with the University.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien plc, said: “This is a significant step forward for 2-DTech and its journey towards commercialisation and we are delighted to cement our relationship with The University of Manchester.”

The industry representatives who took part in the first tour of the NGI were shown how commercial organisations and academics will work side by side on the applications of the future.

One of the visitors, Steve Harris, Head of University Collaboration for BAE Systems, said: “I was very impressed by the scale and the vision of what Manchester is trying to achieve. The key for companies like BAE Systems, who will be long-term  users of graphene, is the capability to move quickly and the GEIC will allow the University to do that.

“The sheer scale of what I have seen today is fantastic and it’s very clear to see the University’s ambition.”

James Baker, Business Director of Graphene@Manchester, said: “We now have more than 200 researchers at The University of Manchester working on graphene and 2D materials and with the opening of the NGI in early 2015, we are seeing an increasing engagement with industry and new partners being signed.

“This engagement with industry on research projects and in shaping the future capabilities of the GEIC for pilot production of graphene and its various applications will be key to the increased probability of success in the commercialisation of the material.”

The NGI is funded by £38m from the UK Government, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and £23m from the European Regional Development Fund. The GEIC is funded by £15m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), £5m from Innovate UK and by £30m from Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company owned by Mubadala.

Notes for editors

James Baker is available for interview on request.

Images and more information about graphene can be found at www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk

For more information please contact:

Daniel Cochlin
Graphene Communications and Marketing Manager
The University of Manchester
0161 275 8382
07917 506158
Twitter: @UoMGraphene