Three key technologies, identified in the pre-budget statement by The Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the government's 'eight great technologies' to drive UK growth, are to receive an £85 million investment for capital equipment.
Speaking at the Global Intelligent Systems conference in London, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the results of a call for proposals issued by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Funding will be made available to more than 20 universities across the UK to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of Robotics and Autonomous systems, Advanced Materials, and Grid-scale energy storage.
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: "For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government's industrial strategy."
The investment will underpin key sectors for the UK economy, including automotive, manufacturing, aerospace, energy, and healthcare.
Robotics and autonomous systems will receive:
EPSRC Grant of £25 million with additional funding contributions of £8.4 million from higher education institutions and £6 million from industrial partners
= Total of £39.4 million
Advanced materials will receive:
EPSRC Grant of £30 million with additional funding contributions of £11.7 million from higher education institutions and £5.5 million from industrial partners
= Total of £47.2 million
Grid-scale energy storage will receive:
EPSRC Grant of £30 million with additional funding contributions of £9.8 million from higher education institutions and £5.8 million from industrial partners
= Total of £45.6 million
Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive said: "The successful bids will build capability in areas that are vital for the country and where exciting research is already being carried out. Developing new ways to storing energy, creating new materials for manufacturing and other industries, and increasing our understanding of how autonomous systems communicate, learn and work with humans."
Examples of facilities benefiting from funding are:
These robots are expected to have impact on minimally invasive procedures including gastrointestinal, urological, neuro, cardiac, endovascular, paediatric, and orthopaedic surgeries.
The facility will build on the Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) which has major industrial backing and works closely with the National Composites Centre (NCC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
The centre is jointly funded by EPSRC, the aluminium automotive sheet & extrusions solutions provider Constellium, Brunel, and a major luxury car manufacturer.
The 'liquid air' technology could revolutionise the storage of energy, reducing the costs of integrating intermittent generation into the electricity system and ensuring power is available when it is most needed.
Cryogenic energy storage systems use off-peak electricity to liquefy air. The cryogenic liquid that is formed is stored in a vessel then vapourised into a gas during an expansion process, which drives a turbine. This system generates electricity when it is most needed; taking off-peak electricity and using it at peak times will solve the 'wrong-time wrong-place' energy generation and supply problem. A grid-connected pilot plant has been operating in Slough since 2010.
For media enquiries contact:
EPSRC Press Office
Tel: 01793 444 404
Notes to Editors:
1. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. http://www.epsrc.ac.uk
Projects to be funded through £85 million capital call are:
£25 million for Robotics and Autonomous Systems
• Imperial College London. £4 million Micro-Engineering Facility for Medical Robotics
• University of Oxford. £3 million Mobile Robotics: Enabling a Pervasive Technology of the Future
• University College London. £2.4 million Robotic Teleoperation for Multiple Scales: Enabling Exploration, Manipulation and Assembly Tasks in New Worlds Beyond Human Capabilities
• University of Warwick. £3.1 million Robotics and Autonomous Systems: The Smart and Connected Vehicle
• University of Southampton. £2.8 million Robotics and Autonomous Systems: Southampton University Capital Proposal
• University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. £6.1million The Edinburgh Robotic and Autonomous Systems Interaction Research Facility
• University of Leeds. £2.6 million National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems
• University of Sheffield and University of Liverpool. £1 million Human-Machine Co-operation in Robotics and Autonomous Systems
£30 million for Advanced Materials
• University of St Andrews. £3.7 million Characterisation and Manipulation of Advanced Functional materials and their Interfaces at the Nanoscale
• University of Bristol. £3.1 million Composites Innovation: from Atoms to Applications
• Brunel University. £3.9 million Scale-up Facilities for Resource Efficient Processing of High Performance Alloys
• The University of Manchester. £4.3 million On the Nano-engineering of Surfaces In Demanding Environments (ON-SIDE)
• University of Glasgow. £3 million Capability to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Electronic & Optoelectronic Devices
• Newcastle University. £2.7million Ion-Beam-Analysis User's Service for Interface Characterisation and Engineering – NEIBUS
• University of Oxford. £3.5 million Multifunctional high performance alloys for extreme environments
• University of Nottingham. £2. 7 million Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing
• University of Southampton. £3.3 million Development and Manufacture of Advanced Composite Materials
£30 million for Grid Scale Energy Storage
• Imperial College London, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield, University of St Andrews, University College London. £14.3 million Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids
• University of Sheffield, Aston University, University of Southampton. £4.9 million Grid Connected Energy Storage Research Demonstrator
• The University of Manchester, University of Liverpool. £3.3million Manchester-Liverpool Advanced Grid-scale Energy Storage R&D facilities
• University of Birmingham, University of Hull. £5.9 million Centre for Cryongenic Energy Storage
• Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick. £1.7 million ThermExS Lab: thermal energy storage lab
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