University’s Royce Institute given funding boost in Ministerial announcement
Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson has today (23 February 2017) confirmed £128 million of funding for the Henry Royce Institute, which includes a substantial wing at the University of Sheffield.
The Royce 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.
The Institute, led by the University of Manchester with a satellite wing in Sheffield and support from other universities, 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.
Today’s announcement includes £3.5 million of funding for the University of Sheffield wing of the project, which includes a pioneering Sheffield Royce Translational Centre in a new building next to the University’s Factory 2050 at its Advanced Manufacturing Campus, and a research centre at the University of Sheffield’s city centre campus.
Last year, the Sheffield Royce Translational Centre received a £4 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund.
The centre will work alongside a second new Royce research centre, the Royce Discovery Centre at the University’s city campus, which will be focussed on early-stage research on materials discovery and processing. The Translational Centre will then take these research discoveries and work with companies to help apply it to their manufacturing challenges.
It will house global-leading academics and engineers along with industrial-grade machines to bridge the gap between research into metal processing and applications for sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy, medical and high-value manufacturing.
Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: “We welcome today’s funding announcement and the University is proud to be leading the way in this area.
“The Royce Translational Centre will provide businesses with access to the most prestigious and advanced research, innovation and equipment - bridging gaps within the UK supply chain and developing the world-leading products and processes that will help re-shore key parts of manufacturing and drive the UK's economy forward.”
A major part of today’s funding announcement includes £105 million, which will be devoted to the construction of the building to host Royce at The University of Manchester.
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 as one of the best places in the world to conduct research, discover and innovate.”
The beneficiaries in this first tranche of funding also include the universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, Leeds, 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.
This major 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).
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.”
The aims of the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials are:
Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials
The Henry Royce Institute (Royce) 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.