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UDL News

15 March 2018

Beating the Brexit blues with magnificent materials

By Dr Ian Atkinson, Senior Patent Attorney

After all the doom and gloom in the media about Brexit and a declining UK manufacturing industry, the Materials Research Exchange conference, held in London on 12-13 March, provided a refreshingly enthusiastic and optimistic outlook on the future of UK Plc.    

MRE centre

The future’s bright, the future’s advanced materials

The conference provided a fantastic multi-component composite of ideas and skill sets from across the UK materials sector. Universities, companies, funding bodies and support services were all well represented from both public and private sectors. Groundbreaking research was presented, strategic connections and partnerships were forged, pitches for funding were made, and technical and commercial support services were showcased.

MRE panel

After listening to some fascinating presentations, and talking to many representatives on the stands, it became clear that the UK materials sector is in fine form, and truly world leading. There’s a real drive (perhaps now more than ever) for organisations across the sector to seek out others with skill sets which complement their own — and develop close relationships to enhance and accelerate the (r)evolution of UK materials research, development, and commercialisation.

Green is the theme

A common theme across many of the presentations, stands, and posters was that of green technology including:
• materials for cleaner energy generation
• materials for more efficient energy storage and usage
• biodegradable and biocompatible materials
• materials recycling methods, and products made from recycled materials
• materials manufactured with a lower carbon footprint
• materials which can make products faster, stronger, smaller, lighter and more energy efficient.

It’s great that both ethical and commercial drivers seem to be aligning across large swathes of the sector. 

MRE ian

UDL at Materials Research Exchange 2018

I attended the conference alongside my colleagues Garry Stuttard and Edith Penty Geraets. We like to keep up to date with the latest materials research — aside from our own technical interest, this ensures we’re best placed to understand new innovations in the materials sector, as well as the current technical and commercial landscape in which they reside. We’re then better placed to draft patent applications and determine how best to claim materials inventions. This means we can provide the most effective IP protection.  

As always, it was enjoyable to get out of the office and meet a number of clients at the conference, as well as many new faces. While the road ahead may be far from straightforward, I left the Materials Research Exchange with confidence that the UK materials sector is in good hands.

For more information on how to best protect your new materials inventions, connect with me on LinkedIn, or contact me at

You can also find out more about our expertise in materials on our website.