£126m for Royce Manchester research centre

The UK government’s business and energy secretary Greg Clark announced £229 million worth of investment in the development of cutting-edge advanced materials and a new centre of excellence for the life and physical sciences as part of the government’s modern industrial strategy.

Included in the investment is £126 million in grants for the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials to support the creation of a world-leading research centre at the University of Manchester, with satellite centres at the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College.

The Royce Institute will encompass nine key areas of materials research including graphene and proposed research areas will be grouped into four themes — energy, engineering, functional and soft materials.

Clark also announced £103 million UK government investment in a new national centre of excellence for life and physical sciences at the Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxford.

“Research and development has a proven track record of making our economy more competitive and creating new products, services and better ways of doing business,” said Clark.

“For these reasons, we’ve placed the UK’s strengths in science, research and innovation at the core of our modern industrial strategy.

“Government investment in these two centres for advanced materials and life and physical sciences will support growth across a range of sectors, provide the skills and training to grow our expertise in these cutting-edge fields, and facilitate positive collaboration between industry, academia and Government.”

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “As a long-standing investor in UK science and partnerships with academia, we believe the creation of vibrant geographic areas of excellence would truly catalyse discovery and innovation.

“Supported by transport and housing infrastructure that facilitate collaboration and attract the best talent, these clusters would boost the knowledge economy and anchor industrial activity throughout the UK.”