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Government supports further university/business research partnerships

01 November 2012

Science minister, David Willetts has announced seven new university and business research partnerships in sectors including life sciences, energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing.

David Willetts
David Willetts

The new projects double the number of winning bids from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF) to 14. When complete, the scheme will deliver more than £1bn of new funding for research from government, industry and charities.

The 14 winning bids, which cover the whole of the UK, will take up £220m of public funding and more than £600m of private support. There will shortly be a new bidding round for the remaining £80m of public investment and both new and resubmitted bids will be eligible.

David Willetts (pictured) says the winning projects will tackle the fight against disease, ensure energy efficiency and improve our infrastructure.

The seven projects are:
- £38m partnership between the University of Manchester, The Christie hospital and Cancer Research UK to develop the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. This will look at cancer treatments targeted to individuals based on the specific characteristics of their tumour biology. It will span laboratory research through to clinical trials and patient care and focus on five research areas: radiation therapy, lung cancer, women’s cancers, melanoma and haematological oncology.

- £85m partnership between UCL (University College London) and the Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Centre for Children’s Rare Disease Research will combine the specialist research expertise of the UCL Institute of Child Health with the unique patient cohort at Great Ormond Street to find treatments and cures for rare diseases of which over 6,000 have been identified.

- £32mn partnership between Queen's University Belfast, The Atlantic Philanthropies, a Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Award, The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and the Insight Trust for the Visually Impaired to deliver the next phase of the Institute of Health Sciences. The Centre for Experimental Medicine will bring researchers working on vision sciences onto the campus alongside new research programmes in diabetes and genomics.

- £34m partnership between the University of Nottingham, GlaxoSmithKline and other co-investors to support the Centre in Sustainable Chemistry. This will be housed within the iconic GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry and will minimise environmental impact. It will ensure that chemistry becomes more energy and resource efficient and sustainable in meeting society's needs for new and better medicines, safer agrochemicals and better materials.

- £38m partnership between Swansea University, British Petroleum (BP), and TATA Steel Europe for the development of the Energy Safety Research Institute. This will capitalise on the university’s strengths in petroleum and chemical processing and focus on the safety issues surrounding the development of existing energy processes, as well as the safe deployment and integration of new green energy technologies.

- £60m partnership between Brunel University, TWI and other companies to develop the National Research Centre for Structural Integrity. This will act as a dedicated national hub for interdisciplinary research into the soundness of the design and constructions of products, plant and infrastructure across the energy, transport and advanced manufacturing sectors.

- £150m partnership between Imperial College London and Voreda to contribute to the development of a major new campus adjacent to the White City regeneration area. The centrepiece will be the Research and Translation Hub, which will provide high specification research and incubator space for 1,000 researchers investigating next generation materials and spin-out companies.

UK RPIF was first launched with £100m of public finance in May 2012 and, in response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government recently tripled the public support to £300m. All projects have to include private funding from industry or the charitable sector worth a minimum of double the public contribution – making more than £1bn of investment in total.

The 14 projects will provide a base for developing new knowledge to support economic growth, and to help meet the health needs of the UK and the wider world. Universities are contributing over £70m from their own resources.

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