Rio Tinto, headquartered in London, UK, has committed $150 million to create a Centre for Future Materials led by Imperial College London. The ‘Rio Tinto Centre for Future Materials’ looks to finance research programmes that will transform the production, use, and recycling of essential materials. The goal is to make these materials more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.
Under this partnership, Rio Tinto and Imperial will collaborate to identify a set of major global challenges that need to be addressed. These challenges will then form the basis of the Centre’s initial research programmes, which will be carried out in collaboration with a variety of international academic institutions.
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The Centre is scheduled to be established in the second half of 2023, with the first research programmes funded in 2024. Rio Tinto will contribute $150 million over the next ten years to fund the Centre. This commitment has been made in Rio Tinto’s 150th anniversary year and funds will be delivered in ten annual instalments in an effort to support diverse, interdisciplinary teams that deliver innovative and transformative solutions prioritising environment, society, and governance.
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm shared, “For the world to reach net zero, we must find better ways to provide the materials it needs. No single player can do this alone, and research and development plays a vital role. Imperial College London is one of the world’s leading institutions focused on science and engineering – I cannot wait to see the progress we make, as we bring together the best of industry and academia, with shared ambition.”
Professor Mary Ryan, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial, added, “All aspects of human society rely on materials – from housing to transport, energy, communications and health. We need to create sustainable ways to extract, process, and reuse these resources.”
“Moving to a truly sustainable society requires a holistic approach to these complex industrial processes,” she continued. “This is inherent to Imperial’s approach. We will tackle these challenges and design future innovations that are resource and energy efficient, nature positive, human-centric and just. By working hand-in-hand with other leading international institutions, we will create a truly multidisciplinary, global effort to drive the next industrial revolution in harmony with nature.”
The Centre builds upon Rio Tinto’s support of research and innovation and looks to complement the Innovation Advisory Committee, a team of global experts in their respective fields, including academia, industry and government. The committee was recently established in hopes to accelerate Rio Tinto’s innovation portfolio and provide external insights and guidance on emerging and disruptive technologies.