- £103 million funding to ensure UK’s best researchers have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities
- Science and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith, appointed on maternity cover, visited the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge
- the lab was one of several world class science institutions in the UK receiving a share of the UKRI funding
UK science and research facilities will receive a share of £103 million in government funding, aimed at upgrading the UK’s already world class research infrastructure and opening the doors for new scientific breakthroughs – Science and Technology Secretary has announced.
The investments will ensure UK researchers have access to the best labs and equipment they need to keep producing world-class science, helping to support world-changing scientific breakthroughs that can benefit us all while also meeting the PM’s priority to grow the economy and create jobs across the UK.
Funding recipients will use the investment to provide new state-of-the-art equipment for their world-leading scientists or upgrades to existing facilities, and they are based across the country, including in Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Leicester, Bristol, Hull, Nottingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Belfast, Warwick and Southampton.
The funding demonstrates the government’s continued backing for the UK science community, taking forward vision of the UK’s Science and Technology Framework published earlier this year to ensuring we have the infrastructure needed to attract talent and investment, and support world-leading science and innovation.
The £103 million additional funding support is comprised of £79.3 million as part of the £150 million in funding announced to address the impacts of the ongoing delay in UK association to the EU’s Horizon Europe programme and £23.7 million as part of the £370 million announcement to forge a better Britain through investment in science and technology.
Science and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith said:
Our world-class science and technology sectors are the engine for growth in the UK economy, and the basis for scientific and technological advancements that will improve everyone’s lives.
These sectors need continued, concentrated backing from the government and I am determined to provide it during my time as Science and Technology Secretary, through funding such as this, which will ensure our world class labs have the infrastructure and equipment to match their status.
This comes alongside the first official visit conducted by Science and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith, who took over on 28 April as maternity cover for Michelle Donelan, ensuring the department’s work could continue in earnest over the next few months.
She was visiting the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, benefiting from the funding, where the Nobel prize-winning scientists have been pioneering electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM), a technique that allows scientists to study the structures of biological molecules, such as proteins and viruses, at extremely high resolution.
They do this by freezing molecules to very low temperatures, then using a special microscope that shoots beams of electrons through the sample, which produces an image of the molecule.
The funding provided to the lab is being used on new state-of-the art equipment, enabling the scientists to see proteins in even greater detail, potentially giving them a much greater understanding of human diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
This could in turn revolutionise our approach to these preventable diseases, providing the basis for scientists to design more powerful drugs to prevent them, potentially improving and saving thousands of lives.
Some examples of funding recipients include:
- the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) for new equipment to enable a much greater understanding of human diseases and the design of powerful drugs against them
- the National Oceanography Centre’s state-of-the-art deep-sea research facility for a new sediment core scanner
- UK Digital Heritage Centre at the University of Liverpool to fund cutting edge facilities that will pioneer a new approach to preserving, promoting and progressing cultural heritage through technologies such as AI, Blockchain and the Metaverse
UKRI International Champion, Professor Christopher Smith, said:
This crucial support for UK research infrastructure is part of the package of support provided by government so that our research and innovation communities can carry on with their essential work notwithstanding the delay to association with Horizon Europe.
The investments, made across the UK, will provide UK researchers with advanced equipment, facilities and technology, and help maintain the UK’s position as a leader in research and innovation.
This support will ensure the UK is an attractive place for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live, work and innovate.
Sources: THX News, Department for Science Innovation and Technology, UK Research and Innovation & The Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP.