Protecting the environment, people, infrastructure and our future

29 Sep 2017

On 20 September 2017, the Materials Protecting Society launch event took place in London. Attendees of the first conference of the new series got a comprehensive overview of how materials play an integral role in protecting the environment, people, infrastructure and our future.

Keynote speakers from across the UK attended the conference, including Gemma Budd from leading materials technology company, Lucideon. Budd explored how materials are critical in protecting our population, looking specifically at regulation surrounding prescription drugs.

Peter Bonfield, CEO of Building Research Establishment, discussed the important role materials science plays in driving a better and more sustainable built environment. His presentation looked at resilience to extreme and unforeseen disruptions to infrastructure, with case studies including Grenfell Tower fire and Hurricane Irma.

The opening programme featured a paper from Louis Brimacombe, Chairman of the IOM3 Sustainable Development Group, who explored how materials can protect the environment. His presentation proposed that all new developments should be assessed upon a life-cycle basis. Brimacombe examined how material selection and product design should embrace not only the end of life scenarios, where higher levels of recycling may be desirable, but all aspects of environmental, social and economic impacts.

Above: Louis Brimacombe discusses the importance of social value in design.

The first conference also saw a paper delivered by Ewa Bloch from Innovate UK, who looked at sustainable production and management of resources for a secure and thriving society. Bloch’s presentation outlined UK and European priorities and funding opportunities for sustainable production and management of materials and resources, and their contribution to supporting secure and green society. She also emphasised the importance of sustainable development goals.

Above: Ewa Bloch outlines the links between behavioural science and the circular economy. 

Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability at Cambridge University, spoke on future materials cycles. His talk projected forward from leading practice and leading research to offer future visions for materials and their industrial systems.

Other speakers included Dale Walker (Ellen MacArthur Foundation), Debra Carr (Cranfield Defence and Security) and Kevin Bygate (Specific).

Above: Dale Walker discusses the opportunities for technical materials in the circular economy.  

The second event in the Materials Protecting Society Series, Materials Protecting the Environment, will take place on 21 February 2018. This half-day conference will challenge and inform the debate on four critical environmental areas, including climate change, air quality, resource efficiency and ocean health.

More information on Materials Protecting the Environment seminar