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08 October 2012

Government investment secures £1 billion for university and private research

   

World leading science projects are receiving a £1billion joint industry, university and Government boost, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon George Osborne MP and the Minister for universities and science, Rt. Hon David Willetts MP, announced today.

The Government will add £200 million of new money to the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF), supporting long-term university capital projects. The fund, which launched with a government investment of £100 million at Budget 2012, was heavily oversubscribed and received an overwhelming number of high quality bids. This additional support will more than double the number of projects that will benefit.

To access the money, universities must match the funding by at least double from private companies or charities – taking the total investment, including universities’ own contributions, to at least £1billion.

As well as supporting the best proposals already submitted by universities, the fund will now reopen for further bids.

Subject to final due diligence from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), successful projects from the first round of bidding for the fund include:

The fund is managed by HEFCE, working with its counterparts in the devolved administrations. Universities bid for between £10 million and £35 million per project. Applications are judged on value for money and must build on existing strong research capability.

In May 2012 HEFCE launched a two stage process by inviting expressions of interest for funding, which closed in June. These were considered by an independent assessment panel and a number of shortlisted bidders were invited to prepare more detailed business cases for assessment. Further projects will be announced in due course.

Notes for editors

1. UK RPIF that has been heavily oversubscribed with high quality bids from universities working in partnership with private and charity sector partners. The additional £200m funding from Government will enable more of the best proposals to be supported, leading to greater and more rapid enhancement to university research infrastructure and helping to maintain the UK’s position as second only to the US in terms of research quality and the best in the G8 in terms of research productivity. The full details of the fund can be found on the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) website at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/.

2. An independent evaluation of previous Government investment in research capital has shown how successful this type of funding can be in accelerating private sector investment in UK university research infrastructure. For example, a £4.3 million investment at Loughborough University led to a £60m investment by BAE Systems and at Dundee University an £8m investment attracted £23m from AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Merck and Pfizer.

3. The announcement provides a further incentive for university-business collaboration that can lead to the commercialisation of research discoveries and medical breakthroughs leading to more effective treatments of disease. Business sectors that are involved in bids include aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, healthcare, mobile telecoms, IT and energy generation. Charities involved include medical, health and hospital charities.

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