Inaugural PMG Christmas Lecture
  • Lecture Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University

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One in every eight people employed in Plymouth works in engineering and/or manufacturing. We have the highest concentration of such employment of any city south of the Midlands and as a consequence our sector represents a significant part of the city’s increasingly important ‘STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) economy’.

In recognition of this fact, the Plymouth Manufacturers' Group (PMG) is pleased to organise its inaugural annual Christmas Lecture on a STEM-related topic to be given by Professor Sir Colin Humphreys CBE FREng FRS

Sir Colin is a Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. His honours include being elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011. He was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to science as a researcher and communicator, and was knighted in 2010. 

Professor Humphreys' research interests are focused in three main areas: gallium nitride materials and devices; advanced electron microscopy; and high temperature aerospace materials. In 1994, in an agreement with Rolls-Royce, he founded the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre at Cambridge, one of over 30 across the world which form a network for collaborative research between industry and academia. In 2000, Professor Humphreys founded the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride, now a 20-strong research group working at the cutting edge of research into GaN LEDs, lasers, and other devices.

Professor Humphreys and some of his fellow Cambridge researchers have been working with Plymouth-based manufacturer (and PMG member), Plessey Semiconductors, to help place the company at the forefront of the solid state lighting revolution. In 2012, Plessey acquired technology to grow a remarkable man-made material that can emit light in every part of the colour spectrum when electricity passes through it. Its MaGIC™ (Manufactured on GaN-on-Si I/C) LED technology has since won numerous awards for its innovation and ability to cut the cost of LED lighting by using standard silicon manufacturing techniques. 

By using its understanding of electronics and expertise in micro-electronic product design and manufacture, Plessey is radically enhancing the human experience with micro-electronics solutions such that people achieve more than they thought possible. They are transforming their facilities at Roborough in Plymouth, creating a significant number of new jobs and have hired three researchers from the University of Cambridge. Their aim: to put energy-efficient lighting within financial reach of the consumer.

Today, the company is addressing a global market that could be worth up to $42 billion by 2019. What gives Plessey an edge over its competitors is its ability to manufacture LEDs at a fraction of their costs, thanks to a unique process developed by Professor Humphreys in the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride.

Please note that attendance at this event is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please email Steve Gerry, PMG Secretary ( with your request.

The PMG is an informal network of manufacturing companies from across Plymouth and beyond. PMG is a valued partner of Plymouth University: information about the partnership.

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