£65 million research facility to open in Liverpool
The University of Liverpool and Unilever will open a state-of-the art £65 million Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) to accelerate research and reduce new product development times relevant to a range of sectors including Unilever’s Home Care and Personal Care Categories.
The MIF will provide equipment at the cutting-edge of materials chemistry research, which will accelerate manufacturing processes and allow the discovery of new materials. Supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, as part of the UK Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund, the MIF is a unique public/private partnership between the University and Unilever.
The facility is expected to be occupied by a total of 250 researchers, including University staff, a team of Unilever scientists based at their global Research and Development (R&D) Centre for Home Care and Personal Care products in Port Sunlight, and a broad range of other industrial and academic partners.
University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, said: “The MIF will further develop our relationships with industry partners and provide an invaluable service to the energy and manufacturing sectors.
“It will provide state-of-the-art facilities for our researchers and professional partners to discover and innovate together.”
Cameron Jones, Site Leader Unilever Port Sunlight, added, “The MIF represents another exciting step in Unilever’s next generation capability development and will help us to deliver bigger and better consumer innovations, whilst accelerating our product development process.
“There is nothing else like this facility in the world and to have it right on the doorstep of our Port Sunlight R&D Centre is extremely important for Unilever, the Liverpool City Region and UK plc.”
Construction of the 120,000 sq ft facility on Grove Street in Liverpool is due to commence this September, and is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2016.
Notes to editors
Unilever’s R&D centre in Port Sunlight is home to over 850 scientists from across 20 countries who are working on innovating the next generation of Home Care and Personal Care products for brands such as Dove, Persil, Comfort, TRESemmé and Domestos.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013).
Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which - Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx - now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.
Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined nine commitments, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.
Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2014 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the fourth year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.
For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.co.uk.
About the University of Liverpool
Materials Chemistry is a leading research theme at the University of Liverpool, spanning functional materials for applications such as energy, catalysis, nanomedicine, and separations. The University has received strong support for this research theme from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC Programme Grant) and the European Research Council (ERC), which has resulted in publications in leading science journals such as Nature (Nature, 2011, 474, 367) and Science (Science, Science 2013, 340, 827). A particular theme is the close integration of computation and experiment to discover functional materials on a more competitive timescale.
About the HEFCE
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for teaching, research, knowledge exchange and related activities. In 2014-15 HEFCE will distribute around £3.88 billion to 130 universities and higher education colleges and 203 further education colleges. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF) supports investment in higher education research facilities. The fund was originally set up in 2012 and has been extended for further funding for 2015 to 2017. Full details of UK RPIF at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/ukrpif/