George Osborne announces new research centre at Manchester University

December 5th, 2014 Category: Colleges and Higher Education

As part of a drive to raise the profile of science in the UK, the government has announced its support for a new major research institute based at the University of Manchester.

The university will be home to a new national research and innovation centre in advanced materials, which was announced by chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement.

The Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research and Innovation will not only form an important part of the drive to improve and expand important scientific analysis across the UK, but it is also set to be important for all industrial sectors and the economy.

It will also enable the researchers in the country to continue with research into advanced-materials science.

The £235 million centre will be based at Manchester University and supported by satellite centres across the UK.

Other hubs will be located in the universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College London.

The development is particularly significant as it serves to highlight the incredibly important role that universitys play in providing facilities that help to contribute to society.

It also highlights the benefits that such institutions have to the communities in which they serve.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, vice-chancellor at the the University of Manchester, welcomed the announcement made by Mr Osborne.

She said: "This considerable investment in UK science – the largest single funding agreement in our university’s history – is testament to the outstanding research in advanced materials carried out in Manchester and at the new institute’s partner organisations.”

Furthermore, it was also announced that the nuclear materials component of the centre, one of 14 such components, will be supported by facilities at the National Nuclear Laboratory in Cumbria and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

Scientists at the facility will also investigate developments across a wide range of disciplines such as nanotechnology, engineering and chemistry.

Mr Osborne called it a "massive investment" in science in the north. He added that the government has committed a quarter of a billion pounds worth of investment in the centre, which will also be essential to the long-term well-being and growth of all industrial sectors.

Commenting on the developments, Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “This is a momentous announcement for Manchester and the UK, which underlines the University of Manchester's world-class credentials and adds significant momentum to the city's major role at the leading edge of global advanced material research. 

"It's something for which we have long campaigned. The potential for the applications of such materials is vast and they will play a major part in realising the economic potential of Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North as a whole.”

The investment in the centre, and its important contributions to scientific development in the UK, serves as a further demonstration of how universities can help to boost the competitiveness of British industries.