Why materials science is key to conquering the UK's Grand Challenges

It’s no secret that there’s a productivity crisis in the UK. According to the Office of National Statistics, our productivity lags behind other developed nations. The amount each UK worker produces per hour is on average 16% less than that of the remainder of the G7. 

In an effort to address flailing productivity, the UK government published a long-term industrial strategy at the end of 2017. In this white paper, four ‘Grand Challenges’ are identified as the key areas that the UK needs to focus upon in order to be at the “forefront of the industries of the future”.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin


But what has this got to do with materials science?

Well, it turns out that research, development and industrialisation in the materials sector could actually be key to overcoming many of these challenges. In this article, we’re going to examine the vital role that new materials and surface treatments might play in the future of the UK economy.

Meeting the four ‘grand challenges’

The UK government has defined four areas crucial to bridging the productivity gap:

  1. Artificial intelligence and data
    Putting the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution.

  2. An ageing society
    Harnessing the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society.

  3. Clean growth
    Maximising the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth.

  4. The future of mobility
    Becoming a world leader in the way people, goods and services move.

The development and implementation of futuristic new materials and surface treatments is integral to addressing these challenges.