P&G is one of the world’s leading consumer products companies, serving 4.8 billion people around the globe. The company has many brands, amongst which are some of the world’s best known household names including Always, Ariel, Ambi Pur, Braun, Fairy, Febreze, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Iams, Lenor, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Pantene, SK-II, Venus and Wella. Research and development forms a major part of P&G’s culture. It employs a team of 8,000 R&D staff worldwide and its philosophy is one of ‘Connect and Develop (Open Innovation)’.
The company works with world-class universities to undertake large scale and fundamental research and its University Partnership mission is to ‘Do world-class, game changing research to fuel innovation’. This vision led P&G to seek out expertise at the University of Birmingham, and the scope and scale of the strategic relationship between the two organisations has grown considerably over the years. The company has funded more than 50 PhD studentships in the University’s School of Chemical Engineering to investigate more economical and environmentally friendly methods of water use, effective cleaning methods and the stability of consumer products.
From this starting point the relationship has since diversified with collaborative projects now also taking place in the Schools of Psychology and Chemistry. Projects here have looked at a range of aspects from how consumers grip their detergent bottles to the characteristics of soap. The next phase of the relationship will seek to explore the potential in building and leveraging world-class capabilities and technologies through a wider innovation group.
P&G is working to connect and develop with other world-class universities and non-competing companies, both within the UK and worldwide. Such a group would seek to combine resources to tackle common, and shared, grand challenges by working on real problems with applicable research. Its collective power could also be invaluable for leveraging funding from government, and other funding bodies, for innovative research that will in turn strengthen the UK research base and its impact.
Director R&D, C+D (Open Innovation) for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, P&G
“It is a meeting of minds, where mutual interests drive outcomes and suggestions flow back and forth between our research team and the students and academics at the University. Both parties benefit from the partnership, as we pool our resources, capabilities and technologies. It is a pleasure to work with some of the top minds in the field who are as excited and enthused about achieving successful outcomes as we are.”