Bumper share of new research money goes to process industry projects
18 Jun 2019
Institution of Mechanical Engineers head of engineering Dr Jenifer Baxter has applauded the announcement that £76 million will be provided to English universities.
Nearly half the money is being provided to projects with direct relevance to the process industries within the wider UK.
Said Baxter: “This funding provides a welcome impetus to develop new knowledge, technologies and skills that will enable scientists and engineers to overcome some of the biggest global challenges facing us today and in the future.
“These funding units across such diverse sectors provides a strong foundation for attracting new entrants into engineering. The importance of crafting new skills in these sectors should not be forgotten.”
A total of 13 projects overall are being funded said universities and science minister Chris Skidmore and will support three years’ worth of work at the institutions involved.
Funding is being made available through the Industrial Strategy and supplied through the Expanding Excellence in Research Fund, administered by Research England which forms part of UK Research and Innovation.
These funding units across such diverse sectors provides a strong foundation for attracting new entrants into engineering
Jenifer Baxter, head of engineering, Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The minister commented: “The Expanding Excellence in England Fund will support projects throughout England to master new and developing areas of research and industry.
“Made possible through our record R&D spend delivered by our modern Industrial Strategy, the investment will support researchers to develop solutions and opportunities for UK researchers and businesses.”
Of the 13 projects, the five that have particular relevance to the process industries include:
University of Portsmouth Centre for Enzyme Innovation – £5.8 million to investigate how engineering enzymes could break down common single-use plastics, contributing to a circular economy.
University of Greenwich Natural Resources – £7.5 million to focus on climate change, sustainable agriculture, food loss and waste and nutrition.
University of Lincoln – £6.3million to create the world’s first centre of excellence in agri-robotics that will look at how robots can tend, harvest and quality control high-value crops with minimum human intervention.
Loughborough University Centre for Mathematical Cognition – £6.6million to evaluate educational interventions to address the STEM skills gap.
University of Newcastle (with Northumbria University) Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment – £8 million to create buildings that consume their own waste and benefit human health.