Government hands extra £95 million to Henry Royce Institute

Business secretary hails research as ‘critical way to turbocharge Britain’s growth’, in Sunak administration’s first major move on science

November 4, 2022
Manchester, United Kingdom - November 23, 2019 Christmas lights of the Manchester bee illuninating St Peters Square in Manchester city centre.
Source: iStock

Rishi Sunak’s government has made its first major science funding announcement, injecting an additional £95 million into advanced materials research being conducted at Manchester’s Henry Royce Institute.

Announcing the additional funding on a visit to the institute, in his first official trip as business secretary, Grant Shapps said that investing in research and development was “a critical way to turbocharge Britain’s growth”.

The grant, awarded via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, tops up the initial £258 million government investment made when the Royce Institute – based at the University of Manchester – was announced in 2014.

The Royce Institute’s activities have included 3D bioprinting for healthcare uses such as tissue engineering in regenerative medicine, turning waste materials into sustainable plastics, and developing new materials to enable quantum technologies.

Mr Shapps said the investment would be vital in “bringing together the brightest minds across our businesses and institutions to help future-proof sectors from healthcare to nuclear energy”.

“R&D investment is a critical way to turbocharge Britain’s growth. Growing an economy fit for the future means harnessing the full potential of advanced materials, making science fiction a reality by supporting projects from regenerative medicine to robots developing new recycling capabilities, right across the country – including here in the heart of Manchester,” Mr Shapps said.

When it was announced, the Royce Institute was regarded as a “Crick of the North” – a counterpart to London’s £700 million Francis Crick Institute, which focuses on the life sciences.

To date it has facilitated 350 collaborations between academia and industry.

Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, said that it was “great to see government backing the UK’s world-leading R&D sector like this”.

“Public investment in R&D is one of the most effective forms of seed funding to grow the economy,” he said.

The announcement comes a day after Research England announced an additional £20 million of funding for business collaboration and commercialisation, on top of the £260 million allocated through the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) fund.

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