£290 million of public and private investment in research projects between universities and industry has been announced.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made the announcement at the ‘topping out’ ceremony for the Francis Crick Institute – a ceremony held by builders when the last beam or brick is placed at the top of a building – on Thursday 6 June.
The Institute is a world-class biomedical research facility funded jointly by government, academia and charity.
The investment for five new universities will drive innovation and growth. The projects that they will fund will tackle global challenges such as developing new treatments for cancer and ensuring advanced materials can cope under harsh conditions, including difficult to access oil and gas reservoirs.
The announcement builds on the government’s previous commitment to protecting and investing in science by ring fencing the science budget this parliament, and increasing capital spending on science by nearly 7 per cent in the same period.
The Chancellor explained during the ‘topping out’ event at the Institute that this is exactly the kind of long-term investment he will look to prioritise in the coming Spending Round. He said:
The spending review is about making choices, and for me science is a personal priority.
By bringing together our Nobel-prize winning scientists, our world-class companies and entrepreneurial start-ups, we can drive innovation and create the economic dynamism Britain needs to win in the global race.
We are making difficult decisions on things like welfare so that we can invest in areas like science.
And today, I can announce five new projects through our £300 million research partnership investment fund – using public money to secure private investment so our world-class science also delivers jobs and growth.
The government money comes from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. In order to access funding, universities must secure at least double the amount of public money from private sources.
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