Chris McDonald, the chief executive officer of the Materials Processing Institute.
Chris McDonald, the chief executive officer of the Materials Processing Institute.

North East metal and steel programme receives £22m cash boost

A research programme in the North East designed to boost the metal and steel sector has received £22m from the chancellor.

Materials Processing Institute, which is based in Teesside, has been given the funds to enhance environmental sustainability and to improve productivity in the metal and steel sector.

The five-year progamme will comprise several projects, including looking into allowing the UK to transfer to a greener industry by carrying out research into low carbon, electric and hydrogen forms of steel-making, looking at improving SME supply chains such as robotics to improve the development of technology in them, and improving the extraction of rare materials such as lithium and cobalt.

The programme will support the aim of the mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, who wants to reinvigorate steel-making in the North East and bring it back to the region in the next few years.

It will also support the Tees Valley Development Corporation and the Tees Valley local industry strategy.

Across the UK, the chancellor expresssed hopes that the project will breathe new life into the UK metal and steel sector by better preparing steelmakers for any growth in domestic demand and help them to overcome any obstacles to trade.

The organisation has worked with British Steel, Liberty Steel and Tata Steel to deliver up-to-date and new research into advanced materials, low carbon energy, the circular economy and digital technologies.

Chris McDonald, chief executive officer of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “Steel and metals are foundation industries essential for Britain’s manufacturing success and sovereign capability.

“Innovation is vital to ensure that our country retains a technological lead, improves productivity and enables us to meet carbon reduction targets to protect our planet for generations to come.

“This investment recognises the world leading expertise at the Institute to support UK industry and environmental sustainability.

He added: “The Institute is hugely grateful for the support of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Redcar MP Jacob Young for making the case to the chancellor and ministers.

“Their role, plus the advocacy of former Redcar MP Anna Turley and Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clarke, has paid off for the region and British industry.”

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