Glass Futures is building momentum and should see a launch of activities in earnest later this year. The initiative started in Sheffield by the UK glass sector’s trade body, British Glass, to build a “Centre of Excellence” in glass R&D, Training and production improvement, has made significant progress through collaboration with partners from industry and academia.
Glass Futures plans to construct two centres employing dozens of highly skilled staff, creating 100’s of related jobs across the supply-chain. Whilst the sites have not been finalised, one of the Hubs is planned in the Liverpool City Region and the other in Yorkshire between Sheffield and Leeds. These two transformational Hubs located in the Northern Powerhouse will be nationally significant, substantially benefitting the entire United Kingdom.
Glass Futures’ aims include dramatically reducing carbon emissions by at least 80%, substantial energy utilisation reduction, alternative raw materials and energy sources as well as new product development and innovation, particularly in healthcare and military applications. Working with the supply chain and academia, Glass Futures mirrors the Government’s Industrial and Clean Growth Strategies.
Household names like Siemens and Swarovski will work alongside glass industry giants including O-I, Encirc, Pilkington and Guardian Glass in this initiative. Leading universities including Leeds, Cambridge, Nottingham, Liverpool, Sheffield Hallam and Swansea will provide the academic knowledge and technical know-how assisting the industry collaboration in this £35M+ project.
Government is highly supportive, and a launch event is planned for 7 February 2018 at the House of Lords when further details will be shared. The event is hosted by former BEIS Minister Lord Prior and supported by current BEIS Ministers, Innovate UK Directors, Industry leaders and the project team.
Richard Katz, founding director of Glass Futures commented “It’s truly amazing that we’ve raised the bar to galvanise industry, academia and government to promote glass manufacturing in the UK to a position of global leadership with investments coming not just from the UK, but from USA and Europe too; It will be fantastic to position the UK glass industry at the very forefront of global manufacturing excellence and future ambition – a triumph for the sector, the government and the UK”