The government has announced investment of more than £200 million to upgrade science research labs across the UK.
The funding, which will be spread across facilities across the country, includes £29 million to upgrade and replace UK scientific equipment, including upgrading and purchasing core equipment for the use of researchers across the UK. This will equip medical researchers at 43 of the UK’s Medical Research Institutes, including Birmingham, with state-of-the-art research equipment, including new high-performance computers and telescopes to study disease. It will also replace equipment that has been donated to COVID-19 research.
£34 million will be invested in data and digital research infrastructure: Upgrading the UK’s digital research capabilities will enable researchers to conduct pioneering analytical research that will help inform long term policy decisions. For example, Oxford’s urban data centre will receive new hardware to pursue research that will show how COVID-19 has affected social and economic activity in different parts of the UK.
£33.5 million will be made available to upgrade facilities of the UK’s scientific councils: This will include a £20 million investment for the Swindon-headquartered Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to upgrade laboratory infrastructure at its sites in Oxford, Cheshire, Cleveland and Edinburgh. This will enable the Council to continue developing flagship projects covering a range of topics, from pre-launch satellite testing to the search for dark matter
£15 million for the Capability for Collections Fund (CapCo). The CapCo was announced last September with the objective of supporting a series of targeted, capital investments to renew and upgrade research facilities within UK galleries, libraries, archives and museums, including university collections, focusing on conservation and heritage science facilities, digital capture equipment and specialist study spaces and reading rooms.
Professor Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI said: “Research and innovation infrastructure is key to delivering the government’s R&D Roadmap, with some of the most innovative ideas with transformative R&D potential requiring access to leading-edge infrastructures, including national research facilities, equipment and instrumentation, networks of technologies and digital infrastructures, and knowledge-based resources such as collections and museums.
“Outstanding infrastructure helps to convene talent from the public and private sectors and across disciplines to tackle society’s most complex challenges. It acts as a magnet for researchers and innovators internationally, contributes to local and national economies, and generates knowledge and capability critical to UK policy, security and wellbeing.”