Press release

Centre to tackle cancer and green transport technology to be focus of £720 million public-private partnerships

Government is set to back new partnerships between Britain’s top researchers and industry leaders as part of our modern Industrial Strategy to take on generational challenges.

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  • government backs advanced manufacturing of lighter metals for cars and airplanes as part of plan to cut emissions as UK moves to net zero economy
  • 11 projects with public and industry backing announced today to tackle the global challenges identified in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy
  • Science Minister Chris Skidmore to praise industry investment and emphasise the importance of public-private collaboration in science and research in a speech today

Government is set to back new landmark partnerships between Britain’s top researchers and industry leaders as part of our modern Industrial Strategy to take on generational challenges, from making vehicles lighter using less fuel, to identifying new treatments for cancer using state of the art technology.

Over £220 million in government investment will go to 11 projects around the country, combined with nearly £500 million funding from industry, with UK universities collaborating with world-leading companies to help commercialise new innovations for the benefit of the UK economy.

The cash injection will come as part of a landmark speech being given today (Wednesday 10 July) by Science Minister Chris Skidmore who will stress government’s ambition to make the UK the most innovative economy in the world and highlight how raising public and industry investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 will deliver that.

Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

Government investment in research and our world-leading universities are helping attract even bigger investments from the private sector. These groundbreaking research projects worth nearly £720 million are a fantastic example of this, as we work towards our target of 2.4% of GDP to spent on R&D by 2027.

As I will note in my final ‘Road to 2.4%’ speech today, this is our modern Industrial Strategy in action: extending our reputation for excellence into the future as we invest record levels into R&D and strive to become the most innovative country in the world.

The projects align with the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges, from creating a cleaner, greener economy, to meeting the needs of the ageing society.

As the government legislates to become the first major economy to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, tackling emissions across industries is key to its success. By focussing on developing light weight metals in vehicles, they will become more energy efficient, resulting in less emissions and saving money for consumers.

Meanwhile, with almost 200,000 deaths from cancer a year, the need to address the disease becomes more pressing as people live longer. A state of the art facility is to be established using new technologies to improve cancer diagnoses, treatment and prevention, which could lead to many lives being saved.

In earlier rounds in the scheme, government and private co-investment from businesses and charities have delivered over £2.3 billion investment in pioneering university R&D collaborations.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive Mark Walport said:

Ensuring our researchers and innovators have the infrastructure they need is essential to creating knowledge and delivering life-changing advances. From tackling cancer and heart disease to improving transport and managing vital water resources, the UK Research Investment Fund will deliver 11 new world-leading-university facilities to support discovery and translation.

Also announced today are the 2 co-chairs of the Robotics Growth Partnership, the aim of which is to put the UK at the cutting edge of the global smart robotics revolution. Professor David Lane, Founding Director in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, and Paul Clarke, Chief Technology Officer at Ocado will bring the robotics sector together to meet the opportunities of the future to maintain the UK’s world-leading position as a robotics powerhouse.

Funding announced today is part of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. The news comes on the day that the minister confirms universities and R&D intensive companies, including GlaxoSmithKlein, BAE Systems Constellium and Dyson, are partnering to meet some of the biggest challenges in a generation. This is supported by £12 million government funding and has landed over £17 million of industry backing.

Published 10 July 2019