Government announces winners in £180m university funding competition
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has revealed the winners of £200m allocated to the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) last month.
The fund, set up with £100m from the government in Budget 2012, aims to support long-term university capital projects, and is managed by HEFCE and counterparts in the devolved administrations.
Universities bid for between £10m and £35m per project. “Applications are judged on value-for-money and must build on existing strong research capability,” said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
To access the money, universities must match funding by at least double from private companies or charities, leading the government to claim it has created a £1bn fund.
“The demand for funding from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund demonstrates the power of universities in promoting economic growth through research and knowledge exchange,” said HEFCE CEO Sir Alan Langlands. “The support from international companies and world-leading charities is a tribute to the excellence of scientific and research staff in our universities.”
£180m of the £200m has been split between seven projects:
University of Manchester, Christie hospital and Cancer Research UK for the Manchester Cancer Research Centre which will look at cancer treatments based on the specific characteristics of an individual’s tumour biology (valued by HEFCE at £38m total).
University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital towards the Centre for Children’s Rare Disease Research (£85m).
Queen’s University Belfast, Atlantic Philanthropies, Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Award, Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and Insight Trust for the Visually Impaired for the next phase of the Institute of Health Sciences (£32m). “The Centre for Experimental Medicine will bring researchers working on vision sciences onto the campus alongside new research programmes in diabetes and genomics.” said HEFCE.
University of Nottingham, GlaxoSmithKline and others, to support the Centre in Sustainable Chemistry which will be housed in the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry (£34m).
Swansea University, BP, and Tata Steel for the Energy Safety Research Institute (£38m).
Brunel University, TWI and other companies for the National Research Centre for Structural Integrity (£60m).
Imperial College London and Voreda towards the development of a campus adjacent to the White City regeneration area (£150m). “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”, said HEFCE.
“There will shortly be a new bidding round for the remaining £80m and both new and resubmitted bids will be eligible,” said the Government.
The original £100m was earlier allocated seven other projects:
University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce towards a research centre covering high temperature metallurgy and associated processes for components including turbine blades. It will also train engineers from apprenticeships to postdoctoral fellows (£60m).
A centre for drug target discovery and research based on large medical data sets. The team includes: University of Oxford, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust UCB Pharma, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Boehringer Ingelheim and Takeda (£32m).
University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors for a National Automotive Innovation Campus (£92m). “This will develop technologies to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. It will also address a shortage of skilled R&D staff in the automotive supply chain,” said BIS.
University of Oxford, Synergy Health, Cancer Research UK, Roche Diagnostics, GE Healthcare and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to establish a cancer research centre (£138m).
University of Surrey and a consortium of mobile communications firms for a centre to support the development of 5G telecoms (“more than £35m”, said BIS).
University of Dundee, Wellcome Trust, and others, for a centre looking to translate life sciences research into healthcare solutions “in areas such as cancer, infectious diseases, eczema and diabetes”, said BIS (£38m).
University of Liverpool and Unilever to develop a materials chemistry research hub called the ‘Materials Innovation Factory’ (£33m).
Overall, “universities are contributing over £70m from their own resources”, alongside the £220m so far allocated, said BIS.