Public Release: 

£70 million boost for UK science research

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

More than £70 million is being injected into science research projects to tackle challenges including airport capacity and our ability to search vast volumes of visual data.

The funding has been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for equipment and projects at 18 universities across the UK.

The support comprises more than £30 million of capital funding for 31 bundles of new equipment. The equipment, which includes ultra-bright lasers, electron microscopes and advanced x-ray imaging, will support a wide range of research activities and ensure our world-leading researchers are working on world-class equipment.

In addition, more than £40 million will be invested in research projects spanning physical sciences, engineering and ICT. The ground breaking projects include:

SeeBiByte: Computer scientists at the University of Oxford aim to use their £4.5 million grant to develop the next generation of computer vision methods that are able to analyse, describe and search image and video content with human-like capabilities and far beyond. Our ability to generate and store large volumes of visual data (images and videos) is now very good. However, our ability to efficiently search and analyse this is not as advanced.

Within the field of what is now becoming known as data analytics, image analytics - the extraction of useful information from vast amounts of image data - is at an early stage of development.

The work could have applications in healthcare, surveillance, and the environmental monitoring of roads, through to new means of enjoying digital media in the home. The research is partly supported by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme.

OR-MASTER: Mathematicians at the Universities of Lancaster and Stirling have been awarded £2.3 million to develop advanced modelling techniques that could unlock much needed additional capacity from our existing airports. The complexity of "slot allocation" at airports cannot be underestimated and current capacity management systems do not capture the entire range of pressures.

By working closely with airlines and airports, this operational research project has the potential to improve the efficiency of airports and in doing so reduce passenger delays, help us accommodate increasing demand for extra capacity, and deliver both environmental and financial benefit.


A full list of programme grants and values is in notes for editors.

EPSRC Chief Executive Professor Philip Nelson said: "Put simply, investment in world-class projects, equipment and people helps to make the UK the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate. This £65 million package will fuel the UK's technological progress, help address the challenges of today and tomorrow, and contribute to a strong economy."


For further information please contact the EPSRC Press Office on 01793 444404 or email

Programme Grants


SeeBiByte: Visual Search for the Era of Big Data, University of Oxford, £4.5 million.

VADA: Value Added Data Systems - Principles and Architecture, University of Oxford, £4.6 million.

Physical Sciences

Control of spin and coherence in electronic excitations in organic and hybrid organic/inorganic semiconductor structures, University of Cambridge, £5.1 million.

Reactive plasmonics optical control of electronic processes at interfaces for nanoscale physics, chemistry and metrology, King's College London, £4.8 million.

ADDRFSS: Atomically Deterministic Doping and Readout For Semiconductor Solotronics, University of Surrey, £6.4 million.


SynFabFun: From membrane material synthesis to fabrication and function Newcastle University, £4.5 million.

Mobile Robotics: Enabling a Pervasive Technology of the Future, University of Oxford, £5 million.


OR-MASTER: Mathematical models and algorithms for allocating scarce airport resources, University of Lancaster, £2.3 million.

Symmetries and correspondences: intra-disciplinary developments and applications, University of Nottingham, £2.3 million.

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.

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