The projects will promote the development of world leading research in a range of subject areas: metal casting, steel research, semiconductor technology, the chemistry of health, bioscience, tissue repair and neuroscience. They will receive £100 million in public support, and together are attracting over £350 million of additional private investment.
For projects to be eligible for a UKRPIF award universities are required to secure at least double the amount of government investment from businesses or charities. These seven successful projects have between them secured more than three times the amount of public funding in investment from non-government sources.
To date, HEFCE has allocated over £500 million to 34 projects running between 2014-17, attracting £1.3 billion of investment from business and charities. A further £400 million of funding was announced for UKRPIF in last week’s budget for the period to 2021.
Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, said:
"The UK's world-class universities are at the forefront of our long-term plan for growth, and their research capabilities are crucial to this. By investing in capital infrastructure we are supporting scientific collaboration between academia and business to lead pioneering research, foster innovation and create the conditions to drive economic growth."
Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:
‘The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has enabled universities to develop world-leading facilities and opportunities to deliver exceptional research, as well as attracting more than £1.3 billion of private investment.
I am delighted that we are able to support these seven projects, and the budget announcement of additional funding for UKRPIF is excellent news. UK universities tackle major national and global challenges, and make a significant contribution to economic growth. The funding offers a further opportunity to enhance the nation’s research infrastructure and develop partnership work.’
The seven projects are:
UKRPIF funding: £15,000,000
The Advanced Metal Casting Centre (AMCC) hosts a suite of facilities to scale-up metal casting increasing the competitiveness of the UK’s metal casting industry. UKRPIF funding will enable the AMCC to expand its operations, conducting high quality research on heterogeneous nucleation, liquid metal engineering, development of advanced materials and resource-efficient casting technologies.
UKRPIF funding: £17,645,000
The Chemistry of Health Centre will enable fundamental discoveries in the molecular processes underlying human disease, particularly neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It will promote their translation into clinical and commercial applications by providing the infrastructure required for new academic-industrial partnerships, which will have both immediate and long-term benefits for human health and the UK economy. The centre will house specialised laboratories, analytical facilities, including the Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases, the Chemistry of Health Incubator, and the Molecular Production and Characterisation Centre.
UKRPIF funding: £17,300,000
The Research Foundation in Compound Semiconductor Technology will develop research into key advanced materials technology of compound semiconductors. Compound semiconductor technology is an essential field which underpins major technologies, including TV broadcasting, high capacity communications networks and healthcare.
UKRPIF funding: £14,966,500
This project will provide world class laboratory space for more than 350 outstanding scientists, bringing together three major strategic areas to transform how biology is researched. The project will focus on infection and global health research; the design and construction of biological devices and systems, known as synthetic biology; and epigenetics – the study of genetic changes that are not caused by differences in DNA sequence ("where the environment meets the genome"). This leading edge research capability will be underpinned by an advanced technology hub and associated with facilities for community engagement.
UKRPIF funding: £10,700,000
The Centre for Tissue Repair will discover and deliver new therapies to repair tissue damage caused by disease and injury, building on the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading expertise in regenerative medicine to progress vital advances in biological and physical sciences. It will also develop advanced imaging and sensor technologies that will enable scientists to view and measure tissue regeneration in real-time, giving vital new understanding and early read-outs of the success of these exciting new treatments.
UKRPIF funding: £10,000,000
Mental illness and dementia are among the greatest challenges to health - King’s will build a world-class research hub to transform the therapeutic options for patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Working with industrial partners, philanthropic donors and patient organisations, the UKRPIF funding will help King’s develop a range of imaging equipment to generate a continuous pipeline of research that will advance our knowledge of disease mechanisms, reveal new avenues for therapy, and test innovative therapeutics.
UKRPIF funding: £14,500,000
The Advanced Steel Research Hub will enable an internationally leading integrated approach to bridging the gap between concepts and manufacture of steel-based projects. Warwick, working with Tata Steel, will provide a national focus helping to transform UK steel production, including research into emerging and breakthrough technologies.
UKRPIF supports higher education research in areas of research excellence to attract investment, and to strengthen the contribution of research to the economy.
UKRPIF is managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), in collaboration with the other three UK higher education funding bodies, with proposals assessed by an independent assessment panel.
UKRPIF was first 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 and ran a second round of the special 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.
An additional £400 million of funding was announced for UKRPIF in last week’s budget for the period to 2021.The additional funding will be used to support larger-scale projects (up to a maximum of £50 million of public funding per project), attracting at least double that investment from private partners.