N8 universities successful in collaborative investment bids


Four of the 11 latest investment awards from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund have gone to projects being led by N8 Universities.

The awards are designed to strengthen the links between the UK’s research base, industry and business partners.

The new initiative, Prosperity Partnerships, receives £31 million and is to be matched by a further £36 million from partner organisations in cash or in-kind contributions, and £11 million from universities’ funds, resulting in a £78 million investment.

Lancaster University, in partnership with BT, is seeking to develop new data-driven methods and technologies for the resilient, autonomic digital infrastructure of the future.

University of Sheffield, in partnership with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and DONG Energy, working also with Durham University, is addressing the challenges of both the current and future generations of wind turbine (WT) technology.

The University of Manchester has been successful in receiving investment for two projects. In the first, with Unilever and Process Systems Enterprises Ltd, it is developing a new modelling approach to enable a significant reduction in conventional physical experimentation, whilst the second sees it work with the University of Leeds, and with BP as its business partner, to examine surface degradation of materials under demanding environments.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “A central part of our Industrial Strategy is boosting the economic impact of our world-class research base by supporting the flow of innovative ideas and techniques from concept to market-place. This investment will ensure the work of our universities continues to have positive impact around the world and maintain the UK’s global leadership in science and innovation.”

Nick Goldspink, for the N8 Research Partnership, said: “These awards reflect the pivotal importance of engineering and the physical sciences to the UK’s continued development as a global research and innovation leader. This initiative, in which N8 universities have been so successful, demonstrates how collaboration can strengthen the UK economy.”