Advanced materials

We need new, transformational materials to enable us to work in the harshest, most demanding environments.

At Manchester, we’re building a research powerhouse, with national and international facilities, award-winning academic leaders and a collaborative and interdisciplinary community that’s committed to tackling some of the world’s biggest problems.

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General Academic Industry Policy

Materials of the future

At Manchester we’re constantly developing new ways to improve and transform existing materials, ready to meet emerging global needs.

Our pioneering research into advanced materials is helping to:

  • recreate tissue and bone, giving a better quality of life into older age;
  • power greener electric transportation;
  • enable us to store sustainable energy;
  • create materials that can power aero engines that operate at much higher temperatures;
  • design materials for the new revolution in digital manufacturing, such as advanced 3D-printing technology;
  • manufacture resilient and smart materials to build the next generation of nuclear power reactors providing low-carbon energy.

Advanced materials: Research breakthroughs

The home of graphene

Manchester is a world-leader in research around a new and growing family of two-dimensional materials. Graphene was originally isolated in 2004 by Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, whose research earned them a Nobel Prize. Today, our graphene community is made up of more than 300 people who are focused on world-class research and industrial collaborations. 

World-class facilities

The University is recognised as a global centre of excellence in advanced materials research, supported by a £400 million investment to establish the research-focused National Graphene Institute, and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre.

These centres of excellence are enabling our researchers to drive forward economic growth in the UK.

With the University’s ambitious new engineering campus and the Manchester-based Henry Royce Institute, we’re one step closer to the University’s vision of a Graphene City. With a focus on interdisciplinary working, this community made up of scientists, engineers, innovators, investors, manufacturers and industrialists will share ideas and contribute to a thriving knowledge-based economy in the heart of Manchester.

The University also houses the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, which works with partner universities to develop a fundamental understanding of materials science that can be applied to solve challenges for BP and the energy sector.


With our world-leading research and industrial partnerships, we provide our academics with the springboard to take a research breakthrough all the way through to a finished product.

One example is our graphene-sieves for water filtration. Our researchers in the NGI Membranes Lab created a graphene-based membrane that could filter toxins, including salt, from salty water making it safe to drink. Their research also showed there was a realistic possibility to mass-produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes, bringing affordable water filtration to countries that can’t afford large-scale desalination plants.

At Manchester our advanced materials academics work across boundaries. Physicists, chemists, biologists, material scientists and engineers are all working together to develop the materials of the future.

I believe the approach taken by Manchester is truly pioneering, partly because of the collegiate way we work with other research teams across the University’s diverse materials science community – but also by the way we work with materials scientists, engineers, clinicians and other stakeholders in universities across the UK and internationally. Collaboration is fundamental to our research success.    

Professor Sarah Cartmell / Professor of Bioengineering