The 2018 Materials Research Exchange Conference is split across two days, with keynote speeches, presentations from Industry leaders, and breakout academic seminars on a range of cutting edge areas. Over 1,000 delegates have pre-registered already!

At this year’s event, delegates will see the entire spectrum of materials community across the two-day programme including engaging talks from investors, innovators and experts such as: Dr Ruth McKernan CBE, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC and Rebecca Endean, Director of Strategy of UK Research & Innovation discussing the Industrial Strategy Fund support for businesses, the scope of current developments in advanced materials across key supply chains and through different sectors. More speakers are still to be announced.

In addition, there will be a series of seminars and workshops demonstrating the scope of current developments in advanced materials. This is the ideal event to build links within the materials supply chain to strengthen the UK materials offer to OEMS and End Users. There will be a technology focus on key application areas such as aerospace, automotive, robotics, energy, health, defence and sustainable construction, value creating opportunities provided by materials and design and engaging the creative industries.

Pick from the list in the conference schedule below to find out more about each one and build your bespoke conference programme. Attendance at the seminars is on a first-come-first-served basis and space is limited per seminar session so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Day One Monday 12th March 2018

Doors open for delegates 

Registration, VIP tour of exhibition / networking


Plenary Session 

Chaired by Sue Dunkerton OBE, Director, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
Keynote Speakers: Dr Ruth McKernan, CEO, Innovate UK
Prof. Philip Nelson, CEO, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Rebecca Endean, Director of Strategy at UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)


Industry Q&A chaired by Stuart McDill, freelance broadcaster and journalist  

Industry Panel Discussion (names to be announced shortly) including Andrew Hosty, Henry Royce Institute


Lunch/1-2-1 meetings

Tour of exhibition & networking

14.00 – 15.45

Henry Royce Institute Update 

Led by Prof Phil Withers, Chief Scientist, Henry Royce Institute - information to follow

16.00 – 17.30

Exhibitor Pitches 

Selection of MRE18 exhibitors will pitch live on stage to showcase their innovation to the audience

SEMINAR STREAM B (Executive Centre)
14.00 – 14.45

Materials for Aerospace Challenges 

Led by Mark Summers, Aerospace Technology Institute 

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) was established as a collaboration between Government and industry; to create the UK’s aerospace technology strategy, advising and challenging the sector through £3.9 billion of secured R&T investment, to ensure the UK retains its global competitive position. The Institute’s mission is to help the UK realise the opportunity available of capturing a valuable share of the growing global civil aviation market.

The session will focus on civil aircraft material challenges that are being addressed through the current research portfolio or have been identified as key opportunities for future investment. The session will identify architecture requirements that impact material choices through whole aircraft efficiency, performance, and operating cost targets. Additionally, industrialisation aspects will be analysed with respect to optimising production efficiencies through the smart application of materials and processes.

15.00 – 15.45

Composites for automotive applications – innovating towards market acceptance

Chaired by Innovate UK 

A panel of industry experts will present and discuss the topic of automotive composites including current state of the market, recent innovations and achieving market penetration at scale. Panel members: Alan Banks, Commercial Vehicles, Ford; Paul Gallen, Sector Lead Automotive, National Composites Centre and TBC.

16.00 – 17.30

Materials for Defence Challenges 

Led by Laura Jones, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ensures that innovative science and technology contributes to the defence and security of the UK. Dstl delivers, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Adviser, the Materials for Strategic Advantage (MSA) Programme.

This session will provide an introduction by the MSA Programme team to the niche defence challenges being tackled through investment in Materials Research and Development. However, many developments addressing these important defence challenges will also have civil applications. This session will provide an insight into some of the projects supported with MSA funding which also have exploitation opportunities in civil applications.

16.00 – 16.40

Materials for Robotics and Autonomous Systems 

Led by Phil Williams, Knowledge Transfer Network - information to follow

16.50 - 17.30

HiPerNano2018: Nanomaterials for Energy

Facilitated by Tatiana Correia, Knowledge Transfer Network 

HiPerNano2018 is a forum which brings together nanotechnology solution developers and end-users with engineering challenges to solve. This year, this event will showcase the latest developments and innovation in nanomaterials, which promise to revolutionise the way we create and use energy. Who should attend? Engineers, manufacturers, researchers and students, SMEs and large companies.

17.30 – 18.00

Exhibition and networking


Evening reception with canapes & Prize Awards 

Awards for the poster competition and more!


Close of day one

Day Two Tuesday 13th March 2018

Doors open for delegates

10.30 – 11.30

Innovation Loans

Information will be updated shortly

11.40 - 13.00

Materials Cohort Presentations 

Facilitated by Dr Ellen Pope, Innovate UK

Selection of short materials cohort presentations from SMEs discussing their latest materials innovation. Meet the current and next generation of innovators, see the breadth of projects currently happening across the materials sector and the scope of innovation. Develop links within the supply chain and establish future collaborations.

14.00 – 15.30

Advanced Materials for Growth

Facilitated by Richard Gunn, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Join some of the leading researchers in the UK to discuss the latest in advanced materials research: from smart coatings to additive manufacturing, sensing to therapeutics, and much more. Hear short presentations from EPSRC’s cohort of Advanced Materials Fellows for Growth and join the discussion on how cutting-edge research is creating new opportunities for growth.

SEMINAR STREAM B (Executive Centre)
10.30 – 11.30

Academic Conference 

Sir Henry Royce Institute - tbc

11.40 – 13.00

Infocus: Women in Innovation

Facilitated by Tatiana Correia, Knowledge Transfer Network 

Men are three times more likely to own a business with employees and women in the UK are half as likely to start a business. Only 7% of British inventors on GB patents were women in 2000-2015.

Infocus Women in Innovation campaign aims to increase the current levels of women in innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK, and ultimately boost the UK economy by encouraging more diversity in business. This session will showcase role models in materials innovation, challenge perceptions and discuss barriers to engaging in innovation and how to overcome these.

14.00 – 15.30

Design for Materials Commercialisation

Led by MaDE Chaired by Ben Griffin, Design Lead, Innovate UK

Hear from the people who bring materials to life by designing innovative products - from medical devices and consumer goods to luxury cars and smart textiles. What role do designers really play in product development? How do they find and select materials? Could they help bring your new materials to market? 

10.00 – 15.45

Investor Showcase -

Facilitated by Lynne McGregor & Nick Cliffe, Innovate UK

An investor-led process in which selected high-growth start-up businesses pitch in a private panel format to a panel of investors. Closed event.


Lunch /1-2-1 meetings 



Closing Address 

Keynote addresses by 

Simon Edmonds  Manufacturing & Materials, Innovate UK

Chris Warkup, CEO, Knowledge Transfer Network

Prizegiving and Awards including a Design for Materials Innovation Award


Exhibition Close

Early bird delegate registration is open now and a host of opportunities for exhibitors are available

Book now