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Top UK labs to receive new equipment and upgraded facilities from £103 million government fund

By May 19, 2023No Comments

UK science and research facilities will receive a share of £103 million in government funding, aimed at upgrading the UK’s already world class research infrastructure and opening the doors for new scientific breakthroughs – the Science and Technology Secretary has announced.

The investments will ensure UK researchers have access to the best labs and equipment they need to keep producing world-class science, helping to support world-changing scientific breakthroughs that can benefit us all while also meeting the PM’s priority to grow the economy and create jobs across the UK.

Funding recipients will use the investment to provide new state-of-the-art equipment for their world-leading scientists or upgrades to existing facilities, and they are based across the country, including in Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Leicester, Bristol, Hull, Nottingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Belfast, Warwick and Southampton.

The £103 million additional funding support is comprised of £79.3 million as part of the £150 million in funding announced to address the impacts of the ongoing delay in UK association to the EU’s Horizon Europe programme and £23.7 million as part of the £370 million announcement to forge a better Britain through investment in science and technology.

Science and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith said:

“Our world-class science and technology sectors are the engine for growth in the UK economy, and the basis for scientific and technological advancements that will improve everyone’s lives.

“These sectors need continued, concentrated backing from the government and I am determined to provide it during my time as Science and Technology Secretary, through funding such as this, which will ensure our world class labs have the infrastructure and equipment to match their status.”

Please see below some examples of the funding:

Facilities and equipment – £61.7 million

Maintaining capability with core biomedical equipment, UK-wide

£24.7 million funding to support key items of biomedical equipment from values of £14,000 to £6 million, at 28 UK institutions. Investments include:

  • the Nobel prize-winning pioneers of electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) will be equipped with the latest cryo-EM capability that will enable the scientists to see proteins in atomic detail. Understanding the atomic structure of proteins enables a much greater understanding of human diseases and the design of powerful drugs against them. A microscopic X-ray scanner will also be installed to enable the precise mapping of all nerve cells in the brains of animals by electron microscopy
  • new DNA sequencing capability at Hull University Teaching Hospital
  • magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology funding for the University of Nottingham
  • state-of-the-art pre-clinical radiotherapy platform at King’s College London
  • modernising the Electron Microscopy capabilities at the University of Glasgow

Boosting Core Equipment for Engineering and Physical Sciences, UK-wide

£16.7 million investment for equipment to support and maintain competitiveness for UK researchers across 50 institutions, to include delivering improved polymer science and data collection capabilities. As well as a funding stream for digital core capability to allow access to HPC resources, software and training. Investments include:

  • £225,000 towards a Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry system and XRD detector upgrades for the University of Warwick
  • Ulster University will invest in the Digital Twins research space with specific emphasis on applications to digital healthcare technologies

Estates – £32.7 million

Investment into STFC estates £24.3 million

An investment to provide upgrades to the national laboratories across the UK including Edinburgh, Daresbury, and Harwell which underpin fundamental research in astronomy, physics and space science. The investments include high energy lasers, AI and quantum computing, particle physics and particle accelerator development, scientific instrumentation development for ground and space-based astronomy, advanced digital technologies to upskill industry and the research community, high performance computing and scientific software.

Investment into NERC estates – £8.4 million

Investment in maintaining and improving NERC estates, including funding for the UK’s internationally significant Antarctic Research Infrastructure, upgrading research ships that carry out oceanographic research in extreme and remote environments, and carbon improvements to move towards the UK’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Ben Kemp