Community Matters

Investment in growth – North East consortium awarded £5.3M for new R&D capability

Charles Bragg, Research & Development Director, P&G UK & Ireland



Innovation remains at the heart of everything we do at P&G. It is how we make a difference in people’s lives through our products. It is how we contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the UK & Ireland as a whole and to the regions we operate in. In October this year, we were proud to host Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, at our Newcastle Innovation Centre where we announced that a North East consortium, led by P&G, has been awarded a £5.3M grant from the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills’ new Regional Growth Fund (RGF) scheme.

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £1.4bn fund operating across England from 2011 to 2014. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

This particular award will contribute towards a combined strategic investment of £14M by the consortium, over a three year period, to establish a Centre of Excellence in Methods and New Technologies for Surface Modification and Cleaning in the North East of England.

Drawing upon a wealth of expertise from P&G and our partners in this consortium; Durham University, Peerless Systems and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI); we will drive cutting-edge research and innovation to develop new cleaning and surface modification technologies. In particular, the centre aims to develop technologies that will produce greener and more efficient cleaning products and help us on continue our work on reducing energy and water consumption during washing and cleaning cycles without compromising the high performance, value, freshness and convenience expected by increasingly demanding consumers.

The new Centre will form a strategic hub for building new research projects and technology transfer initiatives in the North East and the UK. The consortium will establish additional collaborative partnerships with companies that are not competing with P&G in the marketplace but can benefit from the knowledge, expertise, facilities and capabilities of the new Centre. The Centre will therefore assist many UK companies looking to invest, research, develop and commercialise new surface modification and cleaning solutions for industrial application in the oil & gas, renewables, chemicals, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics, construction and other sectors.

This is a fantastic investment for P&G’s business and also for the North East region. Through this partnership, we will be creating and safeguarding more than 50 high-skilled jobs in the North East across the consortium.

This project investment recognises the skills and expertise of the Newcastle Innovation Centre (NIC), which is a key part of the P&G global R&D organisation. It continues the significant investment in the region by P&G and, together with our partners, will bring exciting possibilities in the area of surface modification across several industries. Through our Connect & Develop innovation strategy, P&G aims to work with outside organisations on 50% of all new initiatives, and this project brings the strengths of our North East partners to this critical area of our work on household products.

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Charles Bragg
Research & Development Director, P&G UK & Ireland

Our partners

“Creating long term jobs and long term growth is our number one priory for Britain right now. For too long the UK economy has been too focused on the City of London, ignoring places like Newcastle, Blyth and North Shields in the North East. I want the North East to be a place to build and make things again. The Regional Growth Fund is helping the economy grow in every region and across a range of industries.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg

Our partners

“This grant recognises the quality of Durham University’s continued partnership with P&G as well as the technical and scientific depth we can bring to collaborative research with commercial partners. The project is a major investment in the educational and business opportunities that the University can support to help to enhance the region's economic well-being.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Tom McLeish, Durham University

Our partners

“New cleaning and surface modification technologies are vital to almost all consumer and industrial settings, from home care to manufacturing of high-value products. Working closely with partners, CPI will help establish new projects with industry and raise further funds for the Centre in order to ensure its ongoing sustainability and wider economic benefit for the region.”

Shak Gohir, Practice Director for CPI’s Innovation and Growth Services team

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