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Leading facility in advanced materials and manufacturing to be established

06 Jun 2013

The University of Manchester has received £18million from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) to set up a state-of-the-art Multidisciplinary Characterisation Facility.

Polarised optical image of irradiated graphite

This will be supported by an additional inward 10-year investment of more than £100million from founding partners BP plc; Rolls-Royce; AMEC; Sellafield; NNL; FEI Company; Xradia; Rapiscan Systems; AREVA; Westinghouse; EDF; and TiSiC.

Research and development into advanced materials, which underpins all manufacturing sectors, is essential to UK economic growth. Currently, UK businesses that depend on the production and processing of materials represent 15% of the UK’s GDP, have a turnover of approximately £170billion and have exports valued at £50billion.

The new facility at Manchester will focus on the UK’s strategic development in advanced materials and manufacturing and will provide the necessary expertise to accelerate innovation from the laboratory to market.

The facility will be operational by 2014 and will provide the Northwest and the UK with a distinct advantage in the global research and development into advanced materials and manufacturing, which is vital to socio-economic improvement.

Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Colin Bailey, said: “We are delighted to be awarded £18million from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, which will allow us to obtain the required infrastructure to fully utilise the current expertise at Manchester in advanced materials and manufacturing.

“Working with existing and new industrial partners we will be able to accelerate innovation from the laboratory to market which will be of long-term benefit to the Northwest and the UK economy more widely.”

UKRPIF was first launched with £100million of public finance in May 2012. In response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government tripled the public support to £300million. All projects have to include private funding from industry or the charitable sector worth a minimum of double the public contribution, hence the total figure of more than £1billion of investment.

The five new projects, including the Manchester facility, announced today by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will provide a base for developing new knowledge to support economic growth, and to help meet the health needs of the UK and the world.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “The spending review is about making choices, and for me science is a personal priority. By bringing together our Nobel Prize winning scientists, our world-class companies and our entrepreneurial start-ups, we can drive innovation and create the economic dynamism Britain needs to win in the global race.

"We are making difficult decisions on things like welfare so that we can invest in areas like science. And today, I can announce five new projects through our £300 million UK Research Partnership Investment Fund - using public money to secure private investment so our world-class science also delivers jobs and growth.”

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “The UK’s world-class universities are at the forefront of our economic recovery. It’s vital we do everything we can to encourage collaboration with the private sector and boost funding for research. These excellent projects will not only deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, but will accelerate growth and foster innovation between the research base and business, keeping the UK ahead in the global race.

“Our £300 million investment has secured over £855 million from business and charities - a total investment of £1.15 billion. This is an extraordinary result, far exceeding the required private to public funding ratio of two to one.”