North of Tyne backs scientists in green revolution
It will bring together entrepreneurs, universities, and big business to make the region a leader in environmentally friendly innovation for everyday consumer products.
Key to this will be the development of new technologies to make households, businesses and industry kinder to the environment and less wasteful of water, without compromising on the high quality, value and convenience expected by increasingly demanding consumers.
Politicians have approved a £1.3m contribution to the £2.7m Advancing Circular Economy (ACE) Research and Development (R&D) Demonstrator project in today’s meeting of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) cabinet.
Newcastle University is part of the ACE consortium of P&G’s Newcastle Innovation Centre, which also includes, Northumbria University, Prozomix Ltd., the Centre for Process Innovation and the Innovation SuperNetwork. The consortium will build partnerships with other companies that would benefit from the knowledge, expertise, facilities and capabilities on offer.
This could include those in the oil and gas industry, renewables, utilities, chemicals, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics, construction or other sectors.
Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Strategy and Resources, Newcastle University, said: “At Newcastle University, we are proud of our track record of helping businesses in the region to benefit from our world-reading research. It is exciting to see this being accelerated by investment from the new North of Tyne Combined Authority. The ACE consortium will bring together an impressive range of partners to tackle one of today’s greatest global challenges, the need for sustainable economic growth. It also deepens the partnerships we have in the North East to ensure we sustain a workforce with the education and training that will be essential for the future innovation-driven economy.”
Led by global company Procter & Gamble (P&G) whose brands include Ariel, Fairy and Lenor, the ACE Demonstrator project will have three priorities; to identify new and more sustainable biotechnologies for everyday cleaning products, to find new ways to reduce domestic water consumption, and to investigate the potential for a new green technology centre in the North of Tyne.
Supporting and creating jobs
The ACE Demonstrator project will support the creation of 49 jobs and safeguard 40 others, while creating opportunities in STEM for students and teachers in schools across North of Tyne.
North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Business Competitiveness and Leader of Newcastle City Council Councillor Nick Forbes said: “There’s no way we can go on consuming and discarding the earth’s resources at the rate we are currently.
“The latest figures from Defra show that UK households produced just under 27 million tonnes of waste in 2017. That’s equivalent to 409kg per person.
“This is a unique opportunity to make the North of Tyne a world-leader in solving global sustainability.
“That means finding ways to tackle issues such as waste recycling, energy and water access, and the use of renewable materials.
“We’ll do it by connecting and supporting financially those with the skill, talent, and ability to create jobs in the advanced circular economy, which is an emerging sector of global significance.”
As a region, the North East boasts everything needed for success in the ACE field.
The North of Tyne in particular is home to major process industries and biotechnology businesses, smaller technology providers, leading universities and strong partnerships with UK Catapults – which are a network of world-leading technology centres designed to boost innovation and economic growth.
Connecting and coordinating these institutions will encourage development of the next generation of environmentally friendly products.
Rhona Knox, P&G Vice President, Global R&D said: “I am delighted that P&G, Newcastle & Northumbria Universities, Prozomix and NTCA are partnering to enable the North East to become global leaders in creating green products and solutions.
“This partnership is in line with P&G’s Ambition 2030 environment sustainability framework which is about ensuring we grow responsibly, make our business more resilient, and better serve consumer needs in a resource-constrained world.
“P&G has set goals in four areas that we believe will be good for consumers, good for the planet and good for business.
“In addition to these ambitious targets, on 16th July 2020, P&G announced an acceleration of its efforts to tackle climate change, with a new commitment to be carbon neutral across its operations for the decade.
“The products and solutions that will be created by the ACE project demonstrate how P&G and its brands are committed to be a force for good and a force for growth and we aspire to attracting other partners who can do the same for their companies.”