The institute, which has benefited from nearly £40 million of government support will enable researchers and industry to work together on a huge variety of potential revolutionary applications – from medicine, where drugs could be designed to target specific cells, to developing mobile phones which have huge battery life.
It is part of a wider £90 million government investment in graphene – ensuring the UK gains full benefits of the unique material first isolated in Manchester in 2004. Other investments include the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) in Manchester and the Open Access Innovation Centre in County Durham. With industry funding, total support for these centres has been close to £140 million.
The Chancellor toured the new centre and met with some of the scientists that will benefit from the institute’s state-of-the-art facilities. He then addressed academics, scientists and business leaders, before officially opening the new institute.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:
Backing science and innovation is a key part of building a Northern Powerhouse. Four years ago, The University of Manchester came to me and asked the government to help make sure that Nobel-prize winning science conducted in Manchester leads to job creating innovation and discovery. Four years later it’s fantastic to see that long term vision become a reality with the opening of the National Graphene Institute. The new institute will bring together leading academics, scientists and business leaders to help develop the applications of tomorrow, putting the UK in pole position to lead the world in graphene technology.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said:
The National Graphene Institute is a perfect example of how investment in world-class science can benefit the UK economy and society more globally. It is fitting that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was able to join us to officially open the building.