The origins of the Armourers and Brasiers' traditional crafts lie in working with metals, originally for the manufacture of armour. As arbiters of the quality of their craft the Armourers and Brasiers' Company in earlier centuries had a practical interest in new technologies associated with metals. Metallurgy, the science of metals, has now become part of the broader discipline of Materials Science. In recent times, in order to maintain the link to their craft heritage, the Armourers and Brasiers Company has focused much of its charitable giving on support for education and research in Materials Science.
The Armourers and Brasiers Gauntlet Trust supports Materials Science by links with schools, universities, professional institutions and industry. The work is overseen by the Armourers & Brasiers Materials Science Committee. Its members are eminent Materials Scientists from universities and industry. The Materials Science Committee aims to stimulate an interest in science education generally, and to encourage students to specialise in Materials Science. It seeks to nurture links between manufacturing industry and university departments specialising in Materials Science. Its goal is to supply UK industry with the talented Materials Scientists it needs. Support is funded by seven interlocking programmes: the Company's own Materials Science Scheme and six jointly funded schemes with Tata Steel, AWE, Rolls-Royce, TWI, Morgan Advanced Materials & Materials Processing Institute who all share our commitment in this field of education.
The Company also works closely with the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, and other leading scientific institutions on joint projects in support of Materials Science.
The Trust gives school science project and equipment grants to primary and secondary schools to encourage an early interest in science and in support of activities that enrich the school science curriculum.
At undergraduate level, medals and awards are given to top Materials Science students at 20 universities and grants, are given to support undergraduate placements in industry and other industrial experience. More than 70 grants are given each year to Materials Science postgraduate students to enable them to attend academic conferences - an essential part of their academic professional training.
The Company is the lead sponsor of the Armourers and Brasiers' Cambridge Forum which takes place in June each year and brings together Materials Scientists from industry, universities and research councils. The Forum showcases Materials Science in the UK but also attracts outstanding Materials Scientists from around the world to give the keynote Kelly Lecture.
In 2008, The Armourers and Brasiers' Company awarded its first Venture Prize. This annual award of £25,000 is given as a venture capital investment to support the commercialisation of promising research in Materials Science.
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