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UKRI-ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries Network+ uncovers challenges and opportunities in adapting roadmaps for the Foundation Industries

A recent virtual workshop brought together the Foundation Industries to analyse over 50 pre-existing sector roadmaps, identifying the need to update and expand recommendations to address current challenges and opportunities as we move towards net-zero 2050. 

The UKRI-ISCF TFI Network+ held a successful virtual workshop in April 2021, bringing together over 80 stakeholders from industry and academia to discuss roadmaps to sustainability. The workshop invited attendees to share their insight and experience in innovation and processes, identifying commonalities and barriers as foundation industries adapt to meet UK Government sustainability goals. 

Attendees were given the opportunity to discuss their experiences from their own sectors and research, bringing their insight into implementing innovation and activities with respect to Net Zero 2050. Collectively, attendees agreed that mappings of cross sectoral opportunities were generally missing, leading to roadmaps missing opportunities to cover significant common factors in wider industrial manufacturing. Business models were discussed as important factors in process change. Ineffective communication channels within teams and between suppliers with limited investment and time to develop partnerships all play significant roles in curbing opportunities to introduce new sustainable processes. 

Resource recovery from waste was identified as being met with barriers including labour and energy intensive processes, lack of regulator knowledge and insufficient data for end users. However, attendees agreed that roadmaps and policy had spurred discussion within their sectors, bringing awareness to the need to adapt technologies, creating an openness with regards to collaboration and trialing new ideas. 

“Roadmapping is an extremely significant activity for industry, helping to guide the sectors in sustainability and innovation. Our initial investigations uncovered a great number of documents for each sector with many published up to 5 years ago with minimal revision. The TFI Network+ team think it important therefore, to bring together the foundation industries to identify challenges and opportunities, utilising stakeholder expertise and insight to identify gaps in roadmaps. Highlighting these gaps allows the TFI Network+ to shape its activities and address the needs and concerns of the foundation industries.”

– Professor Ian Reaney, Director of the Transforming Foundation Industries Network+

UK Government targets set emissions at 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; however recent announcements anticipate a revised target date of 2035, creating a challenge for the foundation industries to quickly invest in new processes and technology to remain productive and increase sustainability. The post-COVID and post-Brexit landscape has heightened pressure to adapt, creating unstable markets and reduced output and income. Across the Foundation Industries, innovation and the implementation of new technology is limited, stunted by lack of resources and funding. As the six sectors combined make up a large portion of UK manufacturing and production, it is clear that innovation and opportunity must be implemented within business plans in order to reach climate targets. 

In depth findings from the workshop, as well as a collection of sector roadmaps, have been made available publicly on www.tfinetworkplus.org. Presentation outlining the discussion points from the workshop is available for download. 

Following the workshop, the Network launched their first funding call on the theme ‘Energy Efficient Manufacturing’, inspired by conversations and outcomes from the workshop discussions.


UKRI-ISCF TFI Network+, launched in January 2021 with the aim of assisting the foundation industries (namely glass, paper, ceramics, cement, metals and bulk chemicals) to remain competitive whilst simultaneously facing challenges from environmental legislation and the drive towards net-zero carbon 2050. The core aim of TFI Network+ is to co-create with the Foundation Industries new science and technology that can transform their sustainability and performance by coordinating and channeling a wide range of expertise throughout UK academia in themes such as circular economy, energy efficiency and next generation processes. Those interested are invited to become members of the Network by completing the online membership form on TFI Network+. Members are kept up to date with activities including events and news from across the sector, as well as take part in funding calls by submitting proposals for consideration . Become a member at https://tfinetworkplus.org/join-tfi-network/

Published: June 10th, 2021
Posted in News, Resources, TFI Network+ News

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