Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub

  • Shaver, Michael (Participant)
  • Chloe Loveless (Participant)
  • Parnian Doostdar (Participant)
  • Thomas Bennett (Participant)
  • Guilhem De Hoe (Participant)
  • Adam Peirce (Participant)
  • Hannah Baron (Participant)
  • Jair Azael Esquivel Guzman (Participant)
  • Nicola Jones (Participant)
  • Katrina Farrugia (Participant)
  • Michaela Kiernan (Participant)
  • Jill Brown (Participant)

Impact: Awareness and understanding, Environmental, Environmental, Economic


Plastic waste and pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues in recent years. Organisations often want to be sustainable in their use of plastics, but lack the knowledge, expertise and insights that unlock opportunities for transformative change. With help from funding bodies including ERDF, the SMI Hub Project focused on innovation in sustainable plastics and included both capital investment in laboratory space and equipment to fit out and establish the SMI Hub at the Henry Royce Institute. The SMI Hub’s laboratory, workspace and support package engaged Greater Manchester’s (GM) start-ups and SMEs in the sustainable plastics agenda and provided an opportunity for initial engagement with the University – through facilities and expertise – to potentially lead to longer term collaborative working and innovation. In total the team engaged with over 300 partners, with 80 SMEs receiving significant support that led to increased employment, new products on the market, and long term innovation collaborations. Looking at impacts, survey responses from industry partners show that the majority have or expect to develop and improve new or existing products, processes or services. Beyond the economic impact, the company’s had an increased understanding of sustainable choices in the use of plastics and the expectation to address sustainability challenges which interweaves with the teams broader work in plastics and policy. For their work, the SMI Hub team was nominated for an award for its ‘outstanding contribution to social innovation and environmental impact through enterprise’ at the UoM 2022 Faculty of Science and Engineering Better World Awards. Further details relating to the SMI Hub project can be found in the affiliated case studies below.
Impact date2020
Category of impactAwareness and understanding, Environmental, Environmental, Economic
Impact levelBenefit

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Henry Royce Institute
  • Energy
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute