Institute boss quizzes MPs at Westminster


A materials chief quizzed regional MPs and business leaders on the importance of his sector during a visit to the House of Commons.

Chris McDonald, managing director and CEO of the Middlesbrough-based Materials Processing Institute, travelled to Westminster for an event hosted by the CBI.

MP panel members included Ian Swales, from Redcar, Nick Brown (Newcastle) and Roberta Blackman-Woods (Durham) and the MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman.

Mr McDonald asked a question about UK Industrial strategy and the need to enable SMEs in the supply chain to engage more widely with innovation and the various funding agencies.

In response, Mr Swales said described the MPI as “an important part of the Government’s innovation policy”.’

Mr McDonald went on: “It was an extremely interesting session, and there were a lot of positive to come out it from our point of view.

“Lots of important points of our agenda were discussed including standing up for SMEs, supply chains and our role in the UK innovation landscape.”

One of Mr McDonald’s key aims is to establish the Institute as a national Catapult Centre for UK industry, and after the CBI acknowledged that in its report last year he felt it was important that he got the message across again.

He added: “Obviously things change quite quickly in business, so to get the opportunity to once again outline our aims of gaining Catapult Centre status keeps us fresh in the memory and doesn’t do any harm in the long-term.”

The Institute (MPI), which was first founded almost 70 years ago, evolved to become the research and development arm, firstly of British Steel and more recently Tata Steel, before returning to its independent status in November of last year.

The Institute, based in Teesside, is the UK’s oldest centre for industrial materials research and has opened its doors to companies outside of the steel sector, to make use of its top class research and development facilities.


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