By Deirdre Tynan • 22 June 2021 • 7:53
Science Minister Amanda Solloway.
Britain’s science superpower bid gets £50 million in government funding to upgrade research and innovation infrastructure.
Research and innovation infrastructure in the UK is to receive a £50 million upgrade, furthering the government’s aim to cement Britain’s status as a science superpower.
The projects include a boost to the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope network, carbon capture technologies, a state-of-the-art airborne research laboratory and a £17 million investment in digital research infrastructure.
The funding, which is supporting more than a dozen infrastructure projects and scoping studies, follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of a new ministerial council and Office for Science and Technology Strategy. Both will provide strategic direction on the use of science and technology as the tools to tackle great societal challenges, level up across the country and boost prosperity around the world.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “If the last year and a half has taught us anything it’s that new challenges can arise from anywhere at any time.
“By investing millions in the UK’s research infrastructure, we are putting science and innovation at the heart of our efforts to build back better while ensuring that we can respond to challenges now and in the future – from pandemic preparedness to tackling climate change.
“Tackling problems such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance are immediate priorities reflected in the projects receiving funding, but this funding is equally designed to address the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the future.
“By putting the infrastructure in place now, the UK will lead the world in developing innovative approaches to the challenges facing society, as well as enhancing the UK’s long-term research capability,” she added.
The investment will be delivered through grant funding and is the first to be delivered through UK Research and Innovation’s Infrastructure Roadmap programme to bolster Britain’s research and innovation capabilities.
One of the largest increases in investment to be announced today is for the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), which is an existing project which will receive £14.75 million of the £50 million announced for this financial year. SKAO, which will have telescopes in South Africa and Australia and has its HQ in Manchester, will have the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope network on Earth when constructed.
The SKAO telescopes will be able to image huge areas of sky with unparalleled sensitivity and on an unprecedented scale. Its image resolution quality will exceed the Hubble Space Telescope and it will lead the way for the UK in scientific discovery, helping to maintain our world-leading position.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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