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Plants for Food, Energy, Materials, Health and Eco-systems

Studying at Cambridge


Natural Material Innovation

Natural Material Innovation Centre is a Leverhulme Trust funded research consortium bringing together scientists interested in promoting the use of sustainable plant materials in all areas of life. The centre is led by Dr Michael Ramage from the Department of Architecture.

Natural Material Innovation


The centre looks at plant biomass across the scales: from nano-scale work trying to understand the molecular architecture of wood up to the scale of tall timber building construction. To facilitate this comprehensive study of plant biomass the center combines expertise from many disciplines:

Biochemistry of timber – team led by Prof Paul Dupree looking at molecular architecture of softwood and hardwood

Chemistry – team led by Prof Oren Scherman working to develop new ways of performing chemical modification of timber

Mathematics – research led by Prof Paul Linden investigating intricacies of timber impregnation

Architecture and Material Sciences – work coordinated by Dr Michael Ramage looking to apply sustainable biomaterials to multiple industries, including building construction

Media and recognition

Work performed at the Center is receiving significant media attention. Some of the news stories and awards include:

- A feature on high-rise construction using timber in The Economist

- News story about transforming cities with natural materials published in The Guardian 

- Numerous awards for the super-tall timber tower project

Outreach activities

The Center is also actively involved in public engagement and regularly attends Cambridge Science Festival and The Cambridge University Botanical Garden Festival of Plants.

To learn more about the Natural Material Innovation Centre please visit or contact Mutsuko Grant (

Finding us 

The Natural Material Innovation Centre is based at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture: