Millions of government funding to help UK scientists ‘build back better’

07 January 2021 by Acre
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The UK’s scientific infrastructure is to undergo an overhaul, thanks to an investment of more than £210million of government funding to help ‘build back better’ from the pandemic.

The money will enable new state-of-the-art equipment to drive forward research carried out by the UK’s leading scientists, universities and research institutes.

The £213million investment will enable researchers to respond to key challenges such as Covid-19 and achieving net zero carbon emissions. This forms part of the government’s Research and Development (R&D) Roadmap which aims to make the UK the best place in the world for scientists and researchers to live and work.

The funding includes £27million for upgrading and purchasing core equipment for the use of researchers across the UK.

Scottish facilities will also benefit from the funding with Medical Research Centre units in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee sharing £2.8million to buy high spec equipment to support Covid-19 research, and long-term programmes in cell biology, human genomics and wider virology.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will receive a £20million investment to upgrade campus infrastructure at sites in Edinburgh, Oxford, Liverpool City Region and North Yorkshire.

The STFC will receive a further £10million for laboratory upgrades to support the scientific programmes across laboratories in Edinburgh, Oxfordshire, Liverpool, and North Yorkshire.

This will enable researchers to detect and model disease in finer detail than before, helping the UK respond to Covid-19 and boosting resilience for future pandemics, as well as other global diseases, such as cancer and dementia.

The UK’s digital research capabilities will receive a £34million upgrade, while urban data centres in Glasgow, Liverpool and Oxford will share more than £1million for new research hardware that will show how Covid-19 has affected social and economic activity in varying areas of the UK.

The Capability for Collections Fund (CapCo) will receive £15million to renew and upgrade the most vulnerable research facilities across the UK within galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

Amanda Solloway, Science Minister, said: “The response from UK scientists and researchers to coronavirus has been nothing short of phenomenal. We need to match this excellence by ensuring scientific facilities are truly world-class, so scientists can continue carrying out life-changing research for years to come.

“From the world’s most detailed microscopes tracking disease to super-computers supporting Covid-19 research, our investment will enhance the tools available to our most ambitious innovators across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. By doing so, scientists and researchers will be able to drive forward extraordinary research that will enable the UK to respond to global challenges as we build back better from the pandemic”.

Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “The UK government is committed to supporting Scotland’s world-leading scientists and researchers so their hard work can continue to improve lives in the years ahead.

“The strength of our Union and the role of the UK Treasury is driving forward pioneering research that will deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom, helping us to respond to huge challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change”.

The total investment is delivered through the government’s World Class Labs funding scheme.


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