The UK government has announced it will allocate a total of £76 million (€85.36 million) across 13 projects through its Expanding Excellence in England research fund.
The projects, all of which are based in English universities, each received a share of the funding aimed at helping develop their work over the next three years. The Expanding Excellence in England Fund is administered by Research England, an arm of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); through the government’s Industrial Strategy. Recipient teams will have the further option of attracting additional funding through forming relationships with businesses.
Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Pushing the boundaries of knowledge and conquering new innovations are what our universities are known for the world over. 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 [research and development] spend delivered by our modern Industrial Strategy, the investment will support researchers to develop solutions and opportunities for UK researchers and businesses.”
Winning projects include:
- The Open University’s Astrobiology Research Unit, which seeks to investigate extraterrestrial environments and explore the ways in which the public and private sector can ensure sustainability of space missions;
- Lincoln Agri Robotics at the University of Lincoln, for a project which deploys robotics in farming and tending crops;
- A joint project by the University of Newcastle and Northumbria University, the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, which aims to create a range of buildings which can respond to the environment and consume their own waste; and
- A project at the Royal Northern College of Music examining the potential use of Artificial Intelligence in musical performances.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “The Expanding Excellence in England Fund reflects UKRI’s vision to enhance academic excellence, foster collaboration and increase access to new technologies. The first research units awarded this funding demonstrate the breadth and diversity of talent in UKRI’s portfolio, from astrobiology through to forensic linguistics and climate change, and our commitment to tackling important research questions in a changing world.”