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Innovation Challenges for the UK Chemicals Industry. Colin Harrison Technical and Operations Director Uniqema (an ICI company). Background. UK Chemical industry is a significant contributor to UK plc The industry has annual sales of £34bn and contributes a trade surplus of £4bn

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innovation challenges for the uk chemicals industry

Innovation Challenges for the UK Chemicals Industry

Colin Harrison

Technical and Operations Director

Uniqema (an ICI company)

background
Background
  • UK Chemical industry is a significant contributor to UK plc
  • The industry has annual sales of £34bn and contributes a trade surplus of £4bn
  • The Chemical industry directly supports 250,000 jobs in the UK
  • Capital investment by the industry of £3bn/ yr
  • A key part of UK manufacturing industry
challenges
Challenges
  • Maturing industry in some sectors
  • Competition intense across the industry
  • Threat from overseas manufacture of products
  • Globalisation of customer base
  • Ever shortening downstream product lifecycles
  • European regulatory climate
industry government response
Industry/ Government Response
  • In 2002 Lord Sainsbury announced the Chemicals Innovation and Growth Team (CIGT)
  • The CIGT was set up to address the key challenges facing the UK industry and to formulate a roadmap for the industry’s future development
  • Process of strategic dialogue with the industry and its stakeholders led by Byron Grote (BP)
  • Four strategy teams
    • Innovation and technology pull through
    • Regulation and reputation
    • Skills and competencies
    • Customers and markets
  • More than sixty people from industry, academia, regions and central government involved
the result
The result………….
  • Report presented in December 2002
  • Proposed setting up a Chemicals Leadership Council to drive forward the conclusions of the report on behalf of the whole industry
  • Proposed:
    • action on industry reputation
    • action on skills and competencies
    • actions on markets and customers
    • actions on innovation
so what about innovation
So what about innovation?
  • Recognised as vital for all parts of the industry
  • The Chemicals Leadership Council should set up a Chemicals Innovation Centre (CIC) to act as the specialist central hub for networks relating to innovation and product development
  • The industry should develop an agreed view of science and innovation priorities to communicate with the UK Science Base
  • The CIC should with the relevant regional and national agencies promote the UK as the location of choice for start-ups in chemicals and related technologies
  • The Chemicals Leadership Council should carry out a review of marketing excellence in the industry
but are you all doing anything
But are you all doing anything?
  • Innovation Task Force (ITF) set up to support the CLC Innovation Group with four areas for action:
    • Defining a set of research priorities for industry in a form which can be communicated to the science base
      • Starting with business opportunities and identifying underpinning technology and science platforms
      • Setting up a dialogue on the underpinning platforms with the Science Base initially with the Research Councils (but also DTI etc)
      • Priorities identified to date include business intensification, micropatterning, bioprocessing, fuel cells, sustainable technologies,creative organic synthesis, microfluidics and more..
and there is more
…and there is more
  • ITF priorities
    • The innovation process
      • Looking at the entire innovation process to discover ways of speeding up the entire innovation wheel
      • Supporting work on process intensification to speed the laboratory to pilot to full scale phases of a project
    • The UK science base in the future
      • Working with learned societies to ensure the long term health of the UK science and technology base in chemical and related areas
    • Supporting the establishment of the Chemicals Innovation Centre
      • Roger Platt(ex Unilever) now appointed as project planner
where does process intensification fit in
Where does Process Intensification fit in?

Understand limits

Challenge status quo

Money

Innovation

Research

The Innovation Wheel

Go Faster

Increase hit rate

Science

a collaborative approach is vital
A collaborative approach is vital…
  • So far Process Intensification has not delivered as much as was initially hoped
  • First steps seemed to involve curiosity driven research looking for a problem to solve
  • Industry appears risk averse and not prepared to participate effectively in development
  • Need to understand the total business process and what is rate limiting
  • This involves intimate dialogue and understanding
  • Will need all parties to change their ways of working
our mission for today
Our mission for today….
  • To think how Process Intensification fits customers’ real needs
  • To identify the business benefits
  • To understand where PI fits
  • To look at the whole process
  • To consider how the business will gain a sustainable competitive edge