Announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the funding will be used to support 23 major infrastructure projects and nine scoping studies. These include upgrades to the UK’s national synchrotron – which operates like a giant, powerful microscope – and an airborne laboratory. The financial investment, UKRI added, will fuel “breakthrough” work across a range of disciplines to tackle social issues ranging from the impacts of climate change to improving adolescent mental health.
UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “From drug discovery to advances in the digital arts, progress in research and innovation depends on access to equipment and facilities. peak.
“The UK is home to world-class facilities in a wide range of fields, which act as global centers for research and innovation.
“We must ensure that we renew and improve this capability to keep pace with technological advances, enabling our researchers and innovators to go further, faster.
“Today we are investing £481 million across the UK which will ensure our talent, teams and innovative businesses have access to the world-class infrastructure they need to unleash their full potential. potential.”
As part of the funding, UKRI has announced that it will invest £81.5 million in the Diamond-II upgrade to the Diamond light source.
This 1,841-foot-long synchrotron facility harnesses the power of electrons to produce intense beams of light that can be used to study atoms and molecules in incredible detail.
To date, the Diamond Light Source has facilitated scientific achievements such as research on an enzyme that degrades plastic, a new synthetic vaccine against the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease, and studies on COVID-19.
The new funding will open pathways in materials research and drug development, and offer real-time process insights, including advanced manufacturing and next-generation battery performance.
READ MORE: New digital strategy to grow Britain’s £41.5bn tech sector
The UK screen, games and performance sectors, meanwhile, will see £24 million in funding for a new state-of-the-art creative facility, coSTAR.
According to UKRI, the facility will support fast-growing creative industries to develop new products and experiences.
They added: “coStar will include a central hub and an experimental studio equipped with real-time digital technologies such as motion and volumetric capture, an advanced technology that allows the viewer to turn or move in what appears to be a space three-dimensional.”
This central hub will be joined by a network of regional laboratories set up across the UK.