P&G Newcastle Innovation Centre Celebrates 60 Years with Next Generation

Monday, July 3, 2017 12:35 pm BST


This year, P&G celebrates 180 years of touching and improving lives, a legacy that has reached 70 different countries and transformed communities for the better. 2017 is also the 60th anniversary of our Newcastle Innovation Centre [NIC], one of P&G’s Fabric and Home Care R&D sites developing Ariel, Fairy, and PUR water purification system.
With its history and future in mind, our NIC focossed their 60th celebrations on; their people, their role within P&G today, and their community.  This approach was inspired by the opening speech made by the very first Site Director, Mr. H R Galleymore, in 1957: “The very keystone of our business is our obligation to the consumer.”  The enduring commitment to the consumer is as important [to P&G] today as it was when the centre opened.

Earlier this year, as part of the site's celebrations,Kathy Fish, P&G Chief Technology Officer, opened a new reception area, spoke with employees and tied the site’s R&D and product mastery to our global purpose as a company - putting consumers at the centre to create irresistible consumer experiences that produce unparalleled value.

On Monday 24th June, with eyes on the future, site leaders hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Careers day with 155 ‘scientists of tomorrow,’ from 14 local high schools. The site hopes the event educated students on the dynamic possibilities of an education and career in STEM, the importance of diversity in the workforce, and in particular, help young women overcome of the cultural and societal barriers to choosing a career in science. P&G hopes to contribute to better coaching and producing more role models for future women in STEM.

Site Director Scott Rodrigue welcomed the students to NIC, the first P&G technical centre to open its doors outside the US, in 1957. “Hopefully we are fostering these young adults to have careers in the science area, perhaps even helping us gain employees for the future by getting them inspired by what we do.”

Demos and challenges were designed to help students understand the role of innovation in creating irresistible products and appreciate the variety of skills and careers they could experience in science and technology. 

All of the site actively participated in the STEM day which also brought together UK P&G partners and external partners from across our innovation ecosystem to provide a memorable experience for local students. The (Gillette) Shave Care R&D team from Reading presented augmented reality digital experiences for shaving, as well as robotics and programming, including 3D printing of razors. The IT team from Cobalt [Newcastle] engaged the students in virtual reality consumer shelf experiences and the data analytics that guide shelf and product designing. Presenters from industry, academia and STEM education included Akzo Nobel, the Royal Society of Chemistry, National Formulation Centre, Durham, Northumbria and other local universities. 

In the rapid fire “speed dating” networking event, many P&Gers heard students expressing their passion for the technology behind the products- one saying, “I didn’t realize that Fairy could be so interesting!”

"P&Gers want to find new products that can change consumers’ lives or to improve the products we already have in a way that nobody thought of before.” Rodrigue and his team believe the STEM day piqued the interest of many of its young visitors, offering never before seen insights and access to scientists and creators who could, quite possibly, one day be their colleagues.