First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones today opened the Steel & Metals Institute, a long-term research and innovation collaboration between Tata Steel and Swansea University.
The opening marks a new approach to Tata Steel’s UK R&D, with facilities now based at Swansea University and the University of Warwick. Engineers and researchers at the Institute will be working on a range of new materials to meet the emerging need for next-generation steels for hybrid and electric cars, energy-efficient homes and buildings and innovative food packaging.
The Steel & Metals Institute is the forerunner to the UK National Steel Innovation Centre, which will be funded through the Swansea Bay City deal and is due to be operational by 2020.
Today’s event was attended by Bimlendra Jha, Tata Steel UK’s CEO, and Professor Richard B. Davies, Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor.
Bimlendra Jha said: “Swansea University, together with the University of Warwick, is part of our two hub strategy for collaborative research and development with universities. Integrating this new facility at Swansea with our existing network of researchers at different universities in UK is a stepping stone to our win-win approach to innovation.
“Researchers get real world problems to solve and Tata Steel brings its expertise and resources to give wings to innovative ideas.”
Tata Steel’s ties with UK academia are already well rooted funding six professorial chairs at the universities of Warwick, Oxford Brookes, Cambridge, Cardiff and South Wales, and Imperial College London while more than 80 researchers work directly for Tata Steel.
ofessor Davies said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Tata Steel. Advanced steels research is crucial for the nation, and for manufacturing. This move shows Tata Steel’s long-term commitment to research and development within the UK.”
Ernst Hoogenes, Tata Steel Europe’s head of R&D, said: 'Opening this new R&D centre at Swansea University is a major step towards consolidating and strengthening our R&D in the UK. This will help us accelerate our open innovation activities and will lead to exciting new steels to give our customers a competitive edge.
The new centre will ultimately have a combination of metallurgists, product engineers, data scientists, researchers and technicians. Tata Steel will provide more than 40 industry R&D staff to work alongside 20 new Swansea University research staff. The company has also committed annual funding to contribute to the running of the Institute and donated a wide range of research equipment to the University.
At Tata Steel’s R&D facility based at the University of Warwick engineers and researchers will continue to work on new steel coatings, including graphene, as well as other advanced product development.
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About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the top global steel companies, with an annual steel capacity of 27.5 million tonnes and almost 74,000 employees across five continents. The group’s revenue in the year ending March 2017 was $18.1 billion.