Insights

Manchester India Partnership facilitates major contract with Indian Government

GM LEP are members of the Manchester India Partnership and support its work both financially and through other activity

Innovation hub, HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, has secured a major contract, extending over three years, facilitated by the Manchester India Partnership, with the Indian government to support five high growth Indian technology companies with their expansion into the UK.

This is the first partnership of its kind with the Indian government, which has selected Greater Manchester as the only other location outside of London to run this programme, forging stronger ties with India and contributing towards the region’s economic growth.

The Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC), part of the Indian government, developed the project to help growing Indian technology SMEs secure business infrastructure support and launch in the UK. The UK ranks second for India’s software exports, reflecting its significance for the Indian technology industry.

Media City-based HOST will dedicate a team and infrastructure to represent the companies as they expand in the region. The five Indian SMEs provide effective solutions for a diverse range of sectors, including manufacturing, finance, healthcare, airlines, and the public sector with products and services focused on data science, bespoke software application development, IoT and digital service consulting.

This follows Greater Manchester being the first city-region in the UK to sign an agreement with India’s State of Maharashtra, which is home to the city of Mumbai and other major industrial areas.

As well as being home to a fast-growing £5 billion digital ecosystem, Manchester is officially the UK’s Top Digital Tech City, with ambitions to become a top five European digital city and global influencer.

The five companies HOST will be supporting are Terrah Technologies, NeoSOFT Technologies, Prospecta Technologies, GoodBits Tech and SIERRA ODC – which are located in five different cities spanning across India, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Kochi and Coimbatore.

HOST will be responsible for finding new business opportunities and networks, contacting prospective customers and building relationships, helping the companies to accelerate their business growth in new markets.

The Manchester India Partnership was established in February 2018 to unite private businesses, academia and the public sector across India and Greater Manchester to build and strengthen trade, investment, cultural, and educational ties.

MediaCity

MediaCityUK

North West leaders showcase climate change careers to next generation

  • Future UK climate ambitions will be thwarted without a skilled workforce.

  • First-of-its-kind event, during COP26, will inspire future talent towards ‘green jobs’.

  • Hundreds will learn about future opportunities from environmental experts and leaders.

North West business leaders will join forces in Manchester on November 11 to help bridge the skills gap that many experts fear will hold back the UK’s progress towards lowering carbon emissions and combating climate change.

Businesses and young people will come together to explore the future opportunities that these emerging ‘green jobs’ will bring.

The event comes in response to the Government’s ambition to create two million green jobs in the UK by 2030 in its Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Climate Change Careers is powered by social enterprise, Agent Academy, in partnership with North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), Net Zero NW and Bruntwood.

Hosted by young people, the event will inspire attendees to progress towards a future career that will make a difference to the planet. North West employers, including Bruntwood, Peel Ports and CGI will use the event to attract new talent into emerging, in-demand job roles.

The hybrid event will be hosted at No.1 Circle Square in Manchester’s innovation district, as well as being live streamed on Thursday 11th November at 1:30pm, to coincide with the UN’s COP26 day for Cities, Regions and Built Environment.

Zoe Wallace, Director of Agent Academy, said:

“Encouraging and supporting future talent to progress into meaningful careers is at the heart of our work at Agent Academy. This event will be hosted by young people who are passionate about leading this movement for change.

“We will hear from a variety of special guest speakers, who will share insight into the progress being made towards a greener future. Positive, long-lasting change only ever happens when people are invited to play their part. That’s exactly what we want this event to do.”

Ged Barlow, Chief Executive at Net Zero North West, said:

“A major part of resolving the employment skills gap in clean growth jobs begins with educating and inspiring young talent and already young people are highly engaged in making a difference. After all, the climate crisis will impact on future generations the most.

“However, a recently published skills report, sponsored by Net Zero North West, found that in order for the road to reducing negative carbon emissions to be successful, immediate action is required to address communication around the role of Net Zero skills. Climate Change Careers will do just that by bringing the region’s brightest talent together to highlight the conversation around Net Zero careers.”

Katie Bray, Deputy Chief Executive at NWBLT, said:

“The North West currently stands as a top region for potential to deliver a low carbon industrial cluster by 2030. Supporting the Climate Change Careers event coincides with the NWBLT’s efforts to partner with like-minded businesses, who work towards clean growth and deliver investment into the community.

“We are committed to building a positive future for the North West and developing future talent is absolutely vital for this to happen.”

Bev Taylor, Director of Energy and Environmental at Bruntwood, said:

“We’re committed to reaching our goal of becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030, but we know that there is a gap between the skills needed to be able to achieve this and those that are available to us today. That’s why we’re proud to be supporting the Climate Change Careers event and showcasing the amazing and impactful opportunities that are available through green careers.

“Young people will sadly be the most affected by the climate crisis, but we also believe these people have the talent, passion and drive to create a greener, brighter future.”

The Climate Change Careers event is open to all young people, educators and businesses in the North West. Registration for the event is free via Eventbrite.

No.1 Circle Square

No.1 Circle Square

Manchester Art Fair returns to support culture in the city

Manchester Art Fair is returning to support culture in the city this month.

Sponsored by White Circle, Manchester Art Fair is one of the largest and most prestigious art fairs in the UK and welcomes visitors looking to buy modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography, editioned prints and digital art.

The fair returns to Manchester Central between 19 and 21 November 2021, forming a centrepiece of Manchester’s cultural season.

The hot trend for this year’s fair is undoubtedly going to be the booming market of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens). Manchester Art Fair will demystify the world of NFTs, with advice on purchasing, the link to cryptocurrency, and a selection of exhibitors in the fair selling exclusive NFTs.

Fair Director Sophie Helm said:

“We are excited be bringing live events back to the city with Manchester Art Fair in November supporting the city’s cultural recovery.

“Our audience of art lovers will be able to buy art from over 130 galleries and artists who will be exhibiting at the fair over the weekend, as well as well learning more about NFTs.”

The fair opens with a launch night at Manchester Central on Friday 19 November from 5-9pm, followed by public days on Saturday (10am-6pm) and Sunday (10am – 5pm).

Tickets are available now at manchesterartfair.co.uk

Manchester Art Fair

Graphene’s role in supporting life beyond earth revealed

Advanced manufacturing experts from Manchester have revealed what human life in space could look like – with a graphene-enhanced space habitat developed to meet anticipated demand for human settlements beyond Earth.

A community of specialists at The University of Manchester have teamed up with global architect firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to research the design and manufacturing of space habitats for the space industry.

With projections that the global space economy could grow to $1 trillion revenue by 2040, the innovation will raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of new lightweight composites using 2D materials for space applications.

In an international collaboration, Dr Vivek Koncherry and his team – supported by the Manchester-based Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) – are creating a scaled prototype of a space habitat with pressurised vessels designed to function in a space environment.

The GEIC was part-funded by GM LEP as part of significant investment into Greater Manchester’s global frontier strengths in advanced materials.

SOM, the architects behind the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa in Dubai – are contributing design and engineering expertise to the space architecture. Daniel Inocente, SOM’s senior designer in New York, said:

“Designing for habitation in space poses some of the greatest challenges – it means creating an environment capable of maintaining life and integrating crew support systems.

“As architects, our role is to combine and integrate the most innovative technologies, materials, methods and above all the human experience to designing inhabited environments,” added Inocente.

“Conducting research using graphene allows us to test lightweight materials and design processes that could improve the efficacy of composite structures for potential applications on Earth and future use in space.”

In the next five to 10 years most governments are expected to want a permanent presence in space to manage critical infrastructure, such as satellite networks – as well as considering the potential opportunity of accessing space-based resources and further scientific exploration.

Dr Koncherry said:

“A major barrier to scaling up in time to meet this demand is the lack of advanced and automated manufacturing systems to make the specialist structures needed for living in space. One of the space industry’s biggest challenges is overcoming a lack of robotic systems to manufacture the complex shapes using advanced materials.”

The solution is incorporating graphene for advanced structural capabilities, such as radiation shielding, as well as developing and employing a new generation of robotic machines to make these graphene-enhanced structures. This technology has the potential to revolutionise high-performance lightweight structures – and could also be used for terrestrial applications in the aerospace, construction and automotive sectors.

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester, said:

“The work being led by Dr Koncherry and his colleagues is taking the development of new composites and lightweighting to another level, as well as the advanced manufacture needed to make structures from these new materials. By collaborating with SOM there are opportunities to identify applications on our own planet as we look to build habitats that are much smarter and more sustainable.”

The space habitat launch coincides with a series of world firsts for graphene in the built environment currently happening here on Earth – including the first external pour of Concretene and pioneering A1 road resurfacing – all supported by experts in the city where the super strong material was first isolated.

Tim Newns, Chief Executive of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said:

“This exciting piece of research further underlines the breadth of applications where advanced materials and in particular graphene can revolutionise global industries such as the space industry. In addition to world-leading expertise in graphene, facilities such as the new Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale, will also support the development of advanced machines and machinery required to bring these applications to reality.”

Graphene in space

The Graphene Space Station 

Rochdale manufacturer’s net zero push to be highlighted at COP26

A Rochdale-based manufacturer whose efforts to cut carbon emissions have been supported by the Made Smarter programme will be showcased at the COP26 global climate summit.

Crystal Doors, which makes bespoke, vinyl wrapped doors and accessories for kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, will feature at the summit as one of nine outstanding sustainable organisations promoted by Nigel Topping, the UK Government’s High Level Champion for Climate Action.

The company has spent over £1.5m over the past five years on reducing carbon emissions and is set to achieve net zero by the time COP26 gets underway on October 31.

A series of sustainability investments – including energy saving lighting and equipment, solar panels and a world-first AI-powered dust extractor – saw the business awarded ‘Energy and Carbon Transition of the Year’ in 2020 by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). This was followed by a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.

Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshop process helped Crystal Doors to roadmap their journey to digital transformation of the business and identify opportunities to use technology to become more efficient. The fully-funded, bespoke process involved working with an impartial adviser to analyse the business’s products, services, processes and people, and develop a tailored digital transformation plan.

Through Made Smarter’s digital technology internship programme, which links students and postgraduates with SME manufacturers, Crystal Doors hired a three-month funded intern to implement a network of sensors that will provide insights into how machines are performing and identify potential efficiency improvements.

Richard Hagan, Managing Director of Crystal Doors, said:

“The climate summit in Glasgow will focus on technology, leadership and commitment. Our contribution is to show that every organisation of any size can achieve significant reductions in costs and the emission reductions required to slow climate change.

“The purpose of every business is to improve wellbeing and success for everyone. What we have achieved here in Rochdale is a new model of business values, similar to the Co-operative movement in the 1850s. We have a work culture that is constantly adapting, and each team member is regularly challenged with new technology to manage and skills to learn. All 31 employees are valued equally and together they celebrate our successes as a single community, with the average employee living within three miles of the factory.”

Through the Greater Manchester Economic Vision, the GM LEP is backing innovation in the advanced materials and manufacturing sectors to help companies transition to net zero. Former LEP member Juergen Maier chairs Made Smarter and current LEP member Justin Kelly chairs the Graphene, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Alliance (GAMMA).

The GM LEP has also led the launch the Bee Net Zero programme, an initiative seeking to make Greater Manchester the easiest place in the UK to become a net zero business.

Gateway North Manufacturing Innovation Park

Manufacturing in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and the wider North is set to receive a further boost through the development of the Gateway North Manufacturing Innovation Park.

The site between Rochdale, Middleton and Bury, which lies about 5 miles from Crystal Doors’ headquarters, will host the North West’s newest and largest manufacturing innovation park.

Plans for the £650m development include 1.2 million sq m of commercial floorspace, with a cluster of new research and training facilities focusing on advanced materials, manufacturing, and modern construction methods, linked to the strengths of the universities in the city-region.

The nearby Kingsway site is planned to host a new Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI), an industry-led initiative involving the National Physical Laboratory to stimulate growth in manufacturing machinery and associated technology sectors.

Graphene, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Alliance (GAMMA)

GAMMA is a partnership between the GM LEP, local public agencies, industry, universities and government responsible for coordinating the implementation of the local industrial strategy for this sector.

GAMMA was established to get a clear view of the needs of advanced materials and manufacturing businesses in Greater Manchester, be a focal point for government engagement, and to develop plans to ensure that effective support is delivered for the sector so that our private, public and academic assets are effectively utilised to deliver economic benefit.

The GAMMA vision is for advanced materials and industrial digital technologies that support the creation of a net zero advanced manufacturing supercluster in the North of England driving a more productive, sustainable, highly skilled, and innovative industry.

The programme offers additional targeted support through grant funding for the adoption of digital technologies, digital internships to help grow knowledge and capability in-house, and strengthening leadership through a structured programme bringing together business leaders.

Click here to start your Made Smarter journey.

Crystal Doors

Low-emissions Concrete Underpins Greater Manchester’s Role in Green Industrial Revolution

  • Graphene-enhanced ‘Concretene’ can reduce concrete’s CO2 emissions by up to 30% – a major boost for sustainability of global construction sector

A roller disco building project trialling low-emissions concrete has underpinned Greater Manchester’s role in the Green Industrial Revolution, demonstrating how the city-region is leading efforts to decarbonise the global construction sector.

Concretene uses graphene – the revolutionary 2D material first isolated at the University Manchester – to significantly improve the mechanical performance of concrete, reducing the amount of material required and the need for steel reinforcement.

This can cut CO2 emissions by up to 30% and drive down costs, meaning Concretene is both greener and cheaper for developers.

Concretene is just one of example of the innovation underpinning Greater Manchester’s determination to be at the forefront of the Green Industrial Revolution, with a commitment to reaching net zero carbon neutrality by 2038.

Bold initiatives across smart energy, retrofitting, transport, natural environment, green finance, and green skills and jobs are being highlighted by a new website – www.greenergreatermanchester.com.

Concretene has been developed by the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and Nationwide Engineering, a company co-founded by a former University of Manchester civil engineering graduate, Alex McDermott.

It is being used to create a new 54×14-metre mezzanine floor, which will become a roller disco at Manchester’s Escape to Freight Island, at Mayfield Depot.

The installation is the first ever commercial use of Concretene in a suspended slab and marks a huge step towards testing and developing it as a widely used building material, allowing it to be used as a substitute for concrete on an industrial scale.

Nationwide Engineering Co-founder, Alex McDermott, said:

Today is a huge milestone for the team, as not only is this our first commercial use of Concretene, but also the first suspended slab as used in high rise developments.

“As world leaders in Graphene Enhanced Concrete technology, the interest from the international building industry has been beyond expectations, as looming legislation is forcing significant carbon reductions throughout construction.”

“Our partnership with the University has fast-tracked the development of Concretene, going from lab to product in 18 months,” added Nationwide Engineering co-founder, Rob Hibberd.

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester at the University, said:

We’re delighted to play a part in this exciting project at Mayfield, showcasing how our research can translate into real-world outcomes for sustainability that can be adopted by business and make a major contribution to the city region’s ambitions for net-zero by 2038.

“This Manchester-based technology can also contribute to levelling up by positioning our region as a global R&D centre for sustainable materials for the construction industry – attracting investment, creating new businesses and offering high-wage jobs.”

Justin Kelly, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership board member and member of the Graphene, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Alliance, added:

Concretene is a game-changer in the race to lower the construction industry’s carbon footprint and is a great example of how Greater Manchester’s leadership in advanced materials innovation could shape cities of the future. It also makes a major contribution to the city region’s ambitions to reach net-zero by 2038.”

The pour of the suspended slab at Mayfield marks a significant step towards testing and developing Concretene as a widely-used building material, allowing it to be used as a substitute for concrete on an industrial scale.

Concretene reduces the amount of concrete required in construction projects by as much as 30%. It also offers efficiency savings by slashing drying time from 28 days to just 12 hours.

Production of cement for concrete is one of the leading causes of global CO2 emissions, producing around 8% of total global emissions.

Amid ever-increasing global industrialisation, concrete is the most widely-used substance on Earth after water. For every tonne of cement, 1.25 tonnes of CO2 is produced. In context, global CO2 from cement production fills a space the size of London’s Millennium Dome every 23 seconds.

The use of graphene in concrete produces 6.3kg of CO2 per tonne of concrete – a 21.94kg reduction per tonne compared to traditional steel reinforcement. The total estimated reduction in CO2 emissions for this floor slab compared to a traditional concrete solution is 4,265kg.

Green Industrial Revolution
Concretene
Concretene pour at Mayfield Depot