Nine research projects led by UK universities have been awarded funding of £177m through the UK Research Investment Partnership Fund.
The awards will enable world-leading research by universities working with business, in areas including power electronics, crop science, vehicle propulsion and digital technology for aviation. This extends the range of disciplines supported by the scheme to date.
The announcement also includes the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund first collaborative project across multiple higher education institutions – the establishment of a UK Rail and Innovation Network.
UKRPIF enables universities to work with industry and other partners, harnessing the UK’s strengths in science and research to make advances in key areas: strengthening the nation’s research base, driving innovation and helping to support economic growth. The aims of the fund are in line with the Government’s industrial strategy.
The nine projects complete the fifth round of UKRPIF, covering investment to be made in 2018-19 to 2019-20. Two projects, totalling £52 million, were announced earlier in the round.
Through their business and charitable partnerships, the nine projects have together attracted over £360 million in further funding from private sources.
David Sweeney, HEFCE’s Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange and Chief Executive Designate of Research England, said: “These nine projects will deliver high-class facilities and world-leading innovation, enabling UK universities to continue to tackle major national and global challenges, and make a significant contribution to economic growth.”
Engineering giant Siemens will add a further £64m to the rail project. The partnership between the rail industry and British universities – part of the newly-created UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) will create three linked world-class centres of excellence to form its heart, focusing on:
- Digital Systems, located at the University of Birmingham;
- Rolling Stock, led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and Loughborough University;
- Infrastructure, led by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and Heriot Watt University.
These centres of excellence will bring together the UK rail supply industry and academia to undertake world-leading research and innovation in rail, supporting the UK’s ambition to be a leading player in the global rail market.
Gordon Wakeford, Divisional MD for Siemens Mobility UK and Industry Chair of the Rail Supply Group, said: “This investment brings together a range of British universities renowned for their expertise, backed by leading partners across the rail industry.
“UKRRIN will, undoubtedly, create important strategic partnerships and support future high speed rail programmes in the UK and around the world.”