Public Release: 

Minister Johnson unveils £128 million investment in Henry Royce Institute

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Today, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, will confirm £128 million of funding for research equipment and facilities to develop advanced materials.

A major part of the funding, £105 million, will be devoted to the construction of the building to host the Henry Royce Institute at The University of Manchester.

The Henry Royce Institute is the UK's home of advanced materials research and innovation. The £235 million Institute will allow the UK to grow its world-leading research and innovation base in advanced-materials science, which is fundamental to all industrial sectors and the national economy. It is a critical component of the Government's Northern Powerhouse initiative and an attempt to boost economic growth in the North of England and balance the UK economy.

The Institute will create the missing 'link' in the UK innovation chain allowing the iterative design of advanced materials for various applications such as energy efficient materials for ICT or materials for use in hazardous or demanding environments such as nuclear or aerospace.

By helping to maximise UK research opportunities, the Institute will provide a critical component to delivering on the government's industrial strategy. It will reduce the timescales to translate discoveries to applications, provide strategic leadership together with training and career development in areas of particular need.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science said: "The Royce Institute and grants announced today will benefit our world-leading science and innovation sector. The funding will support development of advanced materials, such as graphene, for research applied in a variety of fields from aerospace to healthcare.

"The government is determined to support further commercialisation of our science and research discoveries as innovation leads to new products, services and better ways of doing business. Our modern industrial strategy will help us ensure the UK maintains its status of one of the best places in the world to conduct research, discover and innovate."

The beneficiaries in this first tranche of funding include the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, and Sheffield, Imperial College London and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), that form the satellite or spokes of the Institute, along with the Hub at The University of Manchester. Other spokes, the universities of Liverpool and Oxford and the National Nuclear Laboratory, will receive funding at a later date.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive, said: "These investments are spread across five universities and CCFE will equip the research community with the facilities it needs to fully explore the exciting possibilities of advanced materials across a wide range of potential applications. The UK is in a strong position in this field and there is much to be optimistic about. We have no doubt that the Sir Henry Royce Institute will deliver a programme of work that ensures that fundamental science provides a well-spring for new innovations."

Royce CEO Dr Andrew Hosty added: "This confirmation of significant government investment for the Henry Royce Institute via EPSRC is a crucial step in delivering a world-leading Institute in advanced materials science.

"The funding will allow for state-of-the-art facilities and precision equipment to carry out fundamental research and produce the next generation of applications in a wide range of areas."

This major first tranche investment is part of the £235 million capital funding announced for the Institute in the Autumn Statement 2014 and comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Institution Purpose Principal Investigator Funding
The University of Manchester (Build) Schroder £105,000,000
The University of Manchester/NNL(Equipment) Schroder £3,487,000
University of Sheffield (Equipment) Rainforth £3,550,000
CCFE (UKAEA) (Equipment) O' Brien £1,000,000
University of Leeds (Equipment) Linfield £4,100,000
Imperial College London (Build/Equip) Alford £400,000
University of Cambridge (Equipment) Friend £10,000,000

The aims of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials are:

  • Accelerate safely and with confidence the use of advanced materials in existing and emerging industrial sectors within the UK.

  • Underpin and provide growth to the entire UK manufacturing base and reduce the time to market from invention to application for new materials, with significant knock-on impact for the national economy.

  • Invent and innovate new materials in various sectors covering fabricating, testing, analysing and demonstration, under different operating environments and provide the 'missing link' in the development of materials within the UK.

  • Cover a number of sectors from soft-to-hard-to-functional materials allowing translation of ideas across sectors.

  • Provide an international beacon for UK expertise and deliver national leadership and critical mass to allow identification of expertise within the UK.

  • Attract inward national and international investment from industry, academia and government.

  • Provide the required skills and training, allowing industrialists to work alongside academics, to produce the expertise of the future from apprentices to doctorates.

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For further information please contact the EPSRC Press Office on 01793 444 404 or email pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

Press contact at the Royce Institute: Head of Communications and Engagement Daniel Cochlin Tel: 0161 275 8382 or 07917 506158 or email daniel.cochlin@royce.ac.uk

Notes for Editors:

The Henry Royce Institute

The Henry Royce Institute brings together world-leading academics from across the UK, and works closely with industry to ensure commercialisation of fundamental research. The Institute will have its hub at The University of Manchester, with spokes at the founding partners, comprising the universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College London.

It will focus on nine key areas of materials research, which are grouped into four themes - Energy, Engineering, Functional and Soft Materials - critical areas to underpin the government's industrial strategy, resulting in economic growth throughout the UK. http://www.royce.ac.uk

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC is the lead funding partner for the Henry Royce Institute and main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research. EPSRC's vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, EPSRC is building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. EPSRC's portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research EPSRC funds has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

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