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The GEIC will be partially funded by £15 million from HEFCE's UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), £5 million from Innovate UK (the Technology Strategy Board) and by £30 million from Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company owned by Mubadala. Additional funding for the centre and its programmes will be provided by other research funds and institutions.
This is the fourth project to be announced from the third round of UKRPIF [Note 1]. This brings the total number of successful projects across the three funding rounds to 26. Universities have received £366 million in public funding, and have secured at least double that amount of investment from businesses or charities, together delivering more than £1.35 billion of new funding for research.
The GEIC will allow the acceleration of application research and development in partnership with other research organisations and industry. The GEIC will complement Manchester’s existing National Graphene Institute (NGI), with the two facilities situated in the heart of the globally leading knowledge base at Manchester, where over 200 scientists and engineers work directly on graphene and 2-D materials.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
'The Research Partnership Investment Fund encourages partnerships between universities and industry for the benefit of the economy and society. The fund enables universities to address today's key national and global challenges, and attracts significant additional private sector investment to help fast-track research. To date, it has delivered more than £1.3 billion of new funding.
'I welcome the funding for the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. The Centre will exploit and maintain the UK's world-leading position in graphene and related 2-D materials , and stimulate the acceleration of application research and development – an excellent demonstration of the major contribution that universities make to economic and social prosperity.'
The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) supports research facilities in universities by attracting investment in research, and strengthening its contribution to economic growth.
UKRPIF is managed by HEFCE, in collaboration with the three other UK higher education funding bodies, with proposals assessed by an independent assessment panel.
UKRPIF was launched with £100 million of public finance in May 2012. In response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government tripled the public support to £300 million in autumn 2012 to fund a second round of the funding initiative.
In June 2013, the Government announced a further two rounds of UKRPIF, extending it to 2016-17 and making available an additional £200 million to be allocated over two years, taking the total government investment in the fund to £500 million.
The remaining successful projects from the third round of UKRPIF will be announced shortly.
The fourth round of the competition is now open. Details of how to submit expressions of interest can be found on the HEFCE web-site.