The role of novel materials across a host of modern and future applications is being examined today at a meeting co-hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

The event, chaired by the Academy’s President Sir John Parker GBE FREng, will feature distinguished engineers and scientists who will give an overview of some of the most remarkable materials being developed in different sectors, including energy, aerospace and healthcare. The day will explore novel materials and processes that have already made their way into everyday life and industry and those we should expect to see five to 10 years from now.

Professor Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials & Society at University College London, engineer and broadcaster, will open the event with a keynote address sharing his insight on what the future holds for material science.

“Is research into materials destined to forever chase novelty to satisfy new necessities or shall we look at current materials to get inspiration for new applications?” Professor Miodownik will ask.

A panel session will consider such issues as getting materials to market, sustainability, reuse and recycling.

The event will mark the launch of two Royal Academy of Engineering reports on future means of manipulating materials, from high tech manufacturing to low-energy recycling methods. Additive manufacturing: opportunities and constraints reports on the Academy’s roundtable on the future of additive manufacturing and 3d printing in the UK, and its impacts on UK industries. From the materials fed into additive manufacturing equipment, to the potentially bespoke items that emerge, this report looks at the reality of the technology and its potential to open up new areas of manufacturing.

Concentrating on the sustainability of the domestic supply chain, Made for the future looks at how domestic goods are made, used and recycled. The aim of the report is to explore the challenges in reducing both the material resources and energy used in the manufacture and use of everyday items from mobile phones to boilers. It highlights the questions that demand the attention of designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to help reduce the demands on resources created by our everyday behaviour.

Notes for editors

  1. The reports will be available to download from: (1.25 MB) and (1.05 MB)
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

    We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For more information please contact

Giorgio De Faveri at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655; email: Giorgio De Faveri