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Northumbria University teams up with Thomas Swan to market wonder material around the world

19th May 2016

A leading North East chemicals firm has formed a unique partnership with Northumbria University’s award-winning Newcastle Business School to help create new markets for its revolutionary new products.

County Durham-based Thomas Swan wants to improve its understanding of potential new markets for a new range of advanced 2-dimensional materials which include graphene; which is 200 times stronger than steel, thinner than a sheet of paper, and more conductive than copper.

Thomas Swan is a family-run business with a growing presence in the UK and international chemicals market. Today the graphene industry is recognised as having large potential but no well-developed markets. The partner organisations are therefore looking for a talented graduate as part of this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to help position Thomas Swan to take advantage of these opportunities.

The manufacturer intends to create wealth through innovation and has chosen to work with Newcastle Business School, at Northumbria University, for the first time to transfer these new technologies into the marketplace.

The project is supported by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.  It works with people, companies and partner organisations to develop and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.  

The University and Thomas Swan are seeking a stand-out graduate to work directly with both organisations and to define the international market opportunities for graphene and determine how it can be marketed and sold to create business growth.

Michele Rusk, Enterprise Fellow and Academic Supervisor at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, said: “This is a hugely exciting project looking to market a product with genuinely transformative properties across many different applications. We are therefore looking for a graduate who can combine academic rigour, technical knowledge and research discipline with creativity, imagination, business acumen, an ability to innovate and entrepreneurial ambition.

“As a region looking to make its mark in the emerging Northern Powerhouse we need to show entrepreneurial ambition – a partnership of Government, industry and universities all working together. Our collaboration with Thomas Swan is very much a part of this approach.”

Scientists are only just beginning to explore the many possible uses of graphene; which includes the ultra-fast charging of batteries, faster flash memory, bendable batteries and bionic devices that can connect directly to your body’s neurons.

Andy Goodwin, Commercial Director Advanced Materials at Thomas Swan, said: “This is a great opportunity for both Thomas Swan and the research associate to jointly develop our strategic marketing skills for the commercialisation of new materials such as graphene with the fully engaged support of a leading UK business school.”

Fraser McLeay, Professor of Strategic Marketing Management and Associate Dean of Business Engagement at Newcastle Business School, added: “Newcastle Business School collaborates extensively across university disciplines in a host of Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) initiatives for industry. This way we can provide an incredibly strong offering to business partners - the average KTP results in an increase in profits of £1 million per annum after the project has been completed.

“This particular KTP aims to bring a revolutionary new product to market, with huge potential and impact for Thomas Swan and indeed consumers across the world.”

Graduates interested in working with Northumbria University and Thomas Swan on this project should contact Michele Rusk on 07887500355 for more information.

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