UK Business Secretary praises UK-UAE graphene innovation partnership

UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has seen first-hand how Manchester’s pioneering work in graphene is set to deliver global impact thanks to an international partnership.

Grant Shapps, The Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has recently been on a visit to the Middle East, which included the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he met representatives from a partnership between The University of Manchester and UAE’s Khalifa University.

The ambitious Manchester-Khalifa partnership is part of the Research & Innovation Center for Graphene and 2D Materials (RIC-2D) which is looking at ways to apply graphene and related advanced materials to technologies that will help make our world more sustainable, including water desalination, emission-busting construction materials, energy storage and lightweighting applications.

Grant Shapps visited the state-of-the-art research facilities and on his Twitter account, the Secretary of State said: “Graphene can be used in everything from touchscreens to reinforcing steel. Made first in Manchester, its importance is now being realised around the world. I enjoyed seeing how Khalifa University is further developing graphene uses for the future, in partnership with The University of Manchester.”

James Baker, CEO at Graphene@Manchester, said: “It was great to co-host the Secretary of State and the UK delegation on their visit to meet our partners at Khalifa University.

“It was a very positive meeting that focused on graphene products and applications. Our conversation covered the heritage of the Nobel Prize for the isolation of graphene in Manchester right through to the creation of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, a Manchester facility set up in partnership with UAE-based Masdar to accelerate the commercialisation of graphene and related 2D materials.

“We also discussed our joint work with the RIC-2D programme and the ambitious commercial opportunities that are supporting the drive towards a sustainable future, including our latest project around creating membrane technology in support of clean water.”

The Kahlifa delegation meeting the Secretary of State also included Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President of Khalifa University; Dr Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President; Dr Steve Griffiths, Senior Vice President for Research and Development and Professor of Practice; Fahad Almaskari, Engagement Director; Fahad Alabsi, Associate Director, Commercialization, RIC-2D Research Center.

During Grant Shapps’ visit to the region the UK and the United Arab Emirates agreed to boost energy security and unlock investment. The Clean Energy Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has now been signed by the two nations and will support the UK’s ambitions for economic growth.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships tackling some of the planet's biggest questions. #ResearchBeacons

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