A world-renowned society, first set up by scientists and thinkers who shaped the Industrial Revolution, toured Stoke-on-Trent to hear about the city’s stellar emergence as a centre of innovation and scientific development.
Members of the Lunar Society saw first-hand how the city is utilising its manufacturing skillset within the Potteries industry as a springboard to take ceramics and materials into a new technological era.
Initiatives in and around the city - including the new Ceramics Valley Enterprise Zone and the £30 million pound Applied Materials Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Company (AMRICC) - are heralding a new era for the region, recently cited in a clutch of independent reports as one of the UK’s fastest growing economies.
Representatives from the Lunar Society visited key locations across the city (Thursday, December 15) following their annual Boulton and Watt Lecture at Stoke Minster delivered by politician, historian and author Tristram Hunt MP and leading scientist Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at University College London.
The event was sponsored by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and the city’s international advanced materials research centre, Lucideon, which is home to AMRICC.
Tony Kinsella, Chief Executive of Lucideon, said: “Initiatives such as AMRICC, which provides a facility to ‘scale-up’ ideas and innovations in ceramics into a commercial reality and revolutionise the way industry brings new materials to market, are supporting a new industrial landscape for the future.
“It is providing a unique international facility which will fast-track advanced materials and materials processes into commercial products, attracting students from across the globe looking to develop solutions for the 21st Century and beyond.
“The visit was a great opportunity to reflect on the city’s proud past at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and to share the story of its renaissance in science and technology.
“Transformational technologies within the ceramics sector are gaining interest from around the world.
“These are exciting times for the city.”
The Lunar Society, which has its roots in Birmingham, last visited the Potteries hundreds of years ago.
It was formed by some of Britain’s greatest minds in the 18th Century, including Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic industry pioneer Josiah Wedgwood, creator of the world-renowned Wedgwood brand.
Lunar Society Chairman Alan Wenban-Smith said: “Stoke-on-Trent really seems to be firing up its creative energies again. It is a city resurgent and we really enjoyed meeting some of its leading figures in enterprise, science and the arts.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Deputy Leader Abi Brown added: “This city has an illustrious past and a great tradition of innovation and enterprise.
“That spirit is alive and well and burning bright. The Lunar Society have taken an interest in our resurgence and this visit is a real sign that this city is on the up once more.”