Global centre of excellence in R&D, innovation and training
More than 100 leading names from across the UK glass industry and supply chain, academia as well as local and national government, attended the Glass Futures Industry Conference in St Helens last month. The event outlined plans to create two centres of glass excellence, hot glass at St Helens and cold end research at the University of Leeds.
These two multi-million pound international research and testing facilities have been planned to shape the way forward for the glass sector. Among other goals, the hot glass facility is aiming to eliminate CO2 from the manufacturing process.
Conference attendees learnt how they can influence and benefit from the planned research into clean fuels and innovation to boost manufacturing productivity and so set the agenda for how the £1.6 billion UK glass sector and its supply chain can benefit from the initiative. Glass Futures is currently pursuing UK government funding streams worth in the region of £60 million from BEIS and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Richard McCauley, St Helens Cabinet member for Economic Regeneration and Housing, who worked in the glass industry for 45 years, commented: “We want St Helens to be at the heart of global innovation. There’s nowhere else like St Helens. It’s a glass town and we want it to stay that way. That’s why we as a council are committed to ensuring that Glass Futures happens here.”