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Materials industry must innovate, says UK minister

The UK government has warned its materials industry that it must not rest on its laurels, but continue to innovate and forge links with research establishments and related businesses. Industry Minister Jacqui Smith made the cautionary remarks at the first meeting of the Mater...

The UK government has warned its materials industry that it must not rest on its laurels, but continue to innovate and forge links with research establishments and related businesses. Industry Minister Jacqui Smith made the cautionary remarks at the first meeting of the Materials Innovation and Growth Team. This joint government-industry forum has been established to identify the challenges and opportunities facing the UK materials industry over the next 10 to 20 years. It is also tasked with identifying the issues most likely to affect the sector, and recommending how the UK should best respond. 'Users of materials in the automotive, aerospace and construction industries will be under constant pressure from customers - and regulators - to produce greener, cleaner, lighter, stronger, more efficient products. The challenge for this group is to help identify ways in which the UK industry can be ready to meet those expectations and be equipped to respond to the rapid changes in technology,' said Ms Smith. The group is expected to focus on future technology needs, skills, infrastructure, industry best practice and international benchmarking. Innovation and Growth Teams have previously been established in the UK in the automotive, chemicals, environmental equipment and software sectors.