Professor Sir Peter Gregson has been appointed chair of the Henry Royce Institute (Royce), the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation.

“The Henry Royce Institute is a national asset for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation for a Sustainable Society,” Gregson said. “I pay tribute to the exceptional work of Baroness Brown of Cambridge, CEO Professor David Knowles and Chief Scientist Professor Philip Withers and all the Partners in establishing this outstanding academic partnership.

“In looking forward, Royce will need to work ever more closely with business to accelerate the research, development and commercial exploitation of advanced materials for the benefit of society, and I look forward to working with the Governing Board, the leadership team and partners in Government and industry to realize this ambition.”

Outgoing Royce Chair, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Julia King, said:

“It has been a privilege to be the first Chair of the Henry Royce Institute over the past six years and to support the team in developing Royce into an important National Institute. The work of Royce could not be more important as the UK, and the world, accelerate the transition to net-zero – with so many of the key technologies such as batteries and hydrogen and fusion relying on new materi-als developments. The critical role of Royce is reinforced by the Government’s recent Innovation Strategy, with advanced materials and manufacturing cited as a key technologies.

“I wish the impressive team across the Royce Partnership continued success in continuing to de-velop the scope and impact of Royce, and I am delighted by Peter’s appointment and wish him eve-ry success in his new role as Royce Chair.”

“I am delighted that we’ve been able to bring someone with Peter’s depth of experience and range of skills to Royce as we move into the next phase of our operations, which will see us continuing to develop our capabilities, engage with industry and the wider UK materials community, and help to support the translation of materials science from the lab to application,” Royce CEO Professor David Knowles added.

“I’m looking forward to working with Peter and to his valued leadership of Royce during what will be an important and exciting time for us, as we work to accelerate the materials innovation re-quired to meet society goals in key areas such as health, the circular economy and of course net-zero.

Royce is ensuring that academics and industry in the UK’s materials community have access to world-class research capabilities, infrastructure, expertise, and skills development. From future cit-ies and their energy supplies, to computing, manufacturing and medicine, the research and innova-tion facilitated by Royce has the potential to significantly impact peoples’ lives.

With its hub in Manchester and with capability distributed across nine founding partners (the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College London together with UKAEA and NNL) and two associate partners (the Universities of Cranfield and Strath-clyde), Royce works collaboratively to create real solutions and make a fundamental difference to the UK economy.

A materials’ scientist by background and recipient of the Rosenhain Medal and Prize of the Insti-tute of Materials in 1996, Gregson has served as vice-chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast (2004-13) and Cranfield University (2013-21).He has been non-executive director of Rolls-Royce Group plc and served on the Councils of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils. He is currently trustee of the Royal Anniversary Trust and of Lloyds Register Foundation.

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