Case Study: National Materials Innovation Strategy


Key Client: Head of Royce Institute for Advanced Materials

Materials innovation is the creation and application of a material whose properties can deliver performance or process benefits across its lifecycle. Materials innovation is a cutting-edge research and industrial discipline. It means discovering, developing and exploiting new materials, or applying an existing material to a new process. This innovation is essential to many of our most pressing economic, social and technological challenges.

Materials affect every part of the economy – and materials innovation can help almost any market, supply chain or application. But because materials have such a broad influence, they offer a particular challenge to policymakers, research funders and industrial leaders. The range of uses makes it difficult to focus national efforts.

There have been several attempts to develop and articulate a national strategy. But none had gained tractions.

A fresh approach was needed to develop a trusted framework for the development of strategy.

This project was delivered via our association with IfM Engage at the University of Cambridge helped the institute lead a response to the challenge and in consultation with the Royce Institute.


To develop the structure of the strategy framework, a consultation with industry and academia was designed and run. Uncovering the many potential needs and priorities is a major challenge for materials innovation.

The assignment developed a new way for materials innovation to be conceived and developed.


Following an initial desktop review of key publications, reports and studies, a series of subject-matter expert interviews was run. This provided the input to a 1-day consultation workshop with experts and sector leaders.

A key differentiator and innovation of the approach was to identify the connection of national and sectoral priorities with applications to materials capability and enablers.


This strategy framework will systematically prioritise, develop and articulate the innovation enablers that will deliver results for industry and the UK. A materials innovation leadership group will develop and deliver a strategy for implementation over the next year. They will do so through a series of interconnecting processes, that answer the key questions of “why, what, and how” for UK materials innovation capabilities growth.  Following a public launch at the UK’s House’s of Parliament, the next stage of the strategy development could be undertaken with confidence.

National materials innovation framework
National materials innovation framework


Want to know more?

Read Here about the process to quickly but rigorously produce a strategic roadmap for your organisation. If you are interested in Technology Planning read Here about the approach.

Rob Munro is an innovation strategist and consultant focussing on improving innovation results within organisations. Please get in touch with me to discuss ways to bring greater effectiveness to your innovation and technology management processes.