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Manchester gets £5m for graphene research

17 Dec 2008

The University of Manchester and Lancaster University will research applications of the world’s thinnest material using a £5m cash boost.

The award is one of several five-year grants totalling £20m that will given to nine UK universities following the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council’s 2008 Science and Innovation Awards.

The grant will be used to study graphene - a new form of ‘super carbon’ discovered at The University of Manchester in 2004 - in areas of material science, chemistry and engineering.

The new centre will be led by Professor Andre Geim, who first discovered graphene with Dr Kostya Novoselov.

Graphene is an isolated atomic plane made from carbon atoms. The electronic properties of graphene have led to research into its use as a possible replacement for sensors, transistors and semi-transistors.

Researchers now increasingly believe graphene may have uses in many other areas. This centre will examine possible applications in relation to material science, chemistry and engineering.

Lesley Thompson, EPSRC Director of Research, said: "These awards are part of our continuing work to ensure Britain has the necessary leadership and resources in breakthrough areas of scientific research. These new centres will have the critical mass to make major research progress, stimulate research in the UK and international community and, where appropriate, to encourage innovation in UK business and industry.”

Professor Simon Gaskell, Vice President for Research at The University of Manchester, said: “This award will result in a long-lasting impact by creating a globally-recognized multidisciplinary centre of excellence focused on graphene research.”

The EPSRC is funding the four programmes with supporting finance from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC)

David Sweeney, Director of Research, Innovation and Skills, HEFCE, said: "HEFCE is pleased to partner the EPSRC in this round of the Science and Innovation Awards focussing on emerging areas of expertise in science and engineering.  We are committed to building capacity in excellent research and these awards will play their part in securing the UK's success in this area of leading edge scientific activity.”