Material Science: Skills In Demand

With a huge push for NetZero the way in which textiles, packaging and construction materials are produced will change dramatically over the next few years.

The conventional way textiles are produced and also dyed releases very harmful chemicals into the environment and also is one of the largest water consumers in the World. There is a huge push to replace polyester and nylon with sustainable fibres as these are both non-biodegradable and un-sustainable as well as creating natural dyes to replace conventional ones.

The conventional use of plastic in the packaging industry created from petrochemicals is a huge issue across the World. Creating sustainable, biodegradable and natural packaging which can be used within the food, cosmetic, fashion and other industries will reduce single use plastics.

The conventional way that building materials specifically concrete production contributes hugely to the World’s CO2 emissions. There is a huge push to create these materials from sustainable products, largely mycelium.

A large number of start-up businesses are all in similar stages and will be following similar growth patterns meaning there will be skills that will become very high in demand. These are listed below:

Scale-up experience

As materials start work through R&D they will work towards large-scale manufacture which will involve scale-up of the small scale processes to be able to be manufactured and then commercialized. This skill set is very niche and will prove to be the hardest to find in the future.


Someone who has worked at manufacturing scale will be very advantageous to start-ups because they will have experience in material optimisation and the familiarity of commercializing materials.

Synthetic Biology

A lot of start-ups are using synthetic biology for the application of material science which includes the engineering of microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, fungi or algae) or use waste streams for example food or agricultural waste which can be broken down by enzymes or microorganisms to create useful by-products.

Machine Learning

The future of AI will mean that the application of Machine Learning within the material space will only increase. It will help to increase the data processing to explore new material compositions and enhance the manufacturing processes.