The ICAM story

Recognising the critical dependence of the energy sector on new materials, the International Centre for Advanced Materials was set up by BP with a $100m investment in autumn 2012.

Our vision is:

  • To deliver a step change in our understanding of materials impacting safety, reliability and performance.
  • To become an international benchmark for university-industry partnerships.
  • To access and develop the skills of young researchers primarily to benefit BP, but extending across the energy industry and supply chains.

Built upon a hub and spoke model this project brings together world-leading strengths of four universities to create an international centre of excellence in advanced materials research.

The academic partnership between The University of Manchester, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, combines game-changing capabilities in structural materials, corrosion, separations, surfaces, deposits and self-healing materials.

Collaboration is at the centre of the ICAM working model. Teams across the five partners work seamlessly to address a range of global energy industry challenges. These challenges include operating in harsh environments, improving asset operation and supporting the development of advanced fuels and lubricants.  The complementary strengths of each partner have already been blended into an ever growing set of research projects.

ICAM has links to five EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training.  The Centres are hosted by the UK partner universities, generating over 300 PhD students with a federal approach adopted for the running and sharing of materials training.

What makes this international partnership really special is the collaborative nature of the  programme with university-based scientists interfacing directly with BP staff across the world allowing direct education. University and BP staff have “day-to-day” involvement in the research projects, helping to transfer pioneering knowledge across continents.