£138m investment to strengthen research-business partnerships
16 Jul 2017
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced two funding initiatives worth a combined value of £138m designed to improve research-business partnerships.
The funding was announced on Thursday (13 July) as part of a series of initiatives revealed by universities and science minister Jo Johnson.
The first EPSRC scheme, known as Prosperity Partnerships, is worth £78m and includes 11 projects led by 10 universities. These range from the development of super-resolution microscopes to nuclear asset management. A number of businesses, including Siemens and BP, will collaborate with the universities.
The partnerships are designed “to create a series of exciting avenues of research leading to industrial implementation”, EPSRC said in a statement.
Nigel Titchener-Hooker, professor of biochemical engineering at UCL, who chaired the panel that approved the Prosperity Partnerships projects, said: “The Partnerships awards are a further demonstration of EPSRC's vision in creating exciting opportunities for industry and academia to work together on strategically significant problems.”
The second investment is worth £60m and allows 33 universities to advance their Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA), EPSRC said.
IAA’s allow institutions the flexibility to operate tailored schemes that help increase the likelihood of impact from their research, while also speeding up the contribution that scientists make towards new innovation, successful businesses and the economic returns that benefit the UK, EPSRC added.
The IAAs' aims are to promote movement between universities, businesses and other organisations; to support the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition.
EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson said: “If innovation is an ecosystem then it is dependent on having a fertile soil of research and the fresh air of ideas to nourish its growth. These new EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships and IAA investments will provide the right conditions in which new technologies and products can be developed more quickly.”