The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre opens
10 December 2018
£15 million of Research England funding has enabled a £60m, world-class research facility to open today with a mission to explore the huge potential for UK and international industry of a new material called graphene.
The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the University of Manchester received funding through Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) in 2014. The centre specialises in the research, development and translation of graphene technology, and will accelerate the commercial impact of graphene and help realise its potential to revolutionise many sectors.
Other partners, including Innovate UK – which together with Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation, a renewable energy company called Masdar, the European Union, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, also contributed to GEIC. Construction of the centre was completed in June 2018.
Research England’s Executive Chair, David Sweeney, said:
‘The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre exemplifies our objectives for UKRPIF. Thanks to commitment from other private and public partners, the facility will help the university develop its capacity to undertake world-leading graphene research, build on its already impressive range of real-world applications, strengthen ties with industrial and academic partner organisations, and help leverage considerable investment in UK research and development. The UKRPIF is a key contributor to the government’s commitment to see research and innovation investment rise to 2.4% of GDP, and the centre is an excellent example of international partnership and investment that UKRPIF supports and leverages.’
Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Manchester, Professor Luke Georghiou, said:
‘The GEIC is a first step to realising a transformation of our wider surroundings. Manchester was known around the globe as Cottonopolis at the height of the Industrial Revolution – in this century our aim is to be Graphene City – a district where 2-D materials and complementary technologies drive jobs and growth.’
As well as academic and technical staff, the GEIC aims to engage with a large number of engineers and innovative SMEs, and has already announced new partners for the initiative.
The University of Manchester is home to the National Graphene Institute, which opened in 2015 and is a 7,825 square metre research facility funded by a £38m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £23m grant from the European Regional Development Fund.
Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov discovered graphene at the University of Manchester in 2004 by isolating and extracting 2-D crystal graphene from graphite using adhesive tape. The pair were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics.
Established in 2012, the UKRPIF has provided over £680m of capital funding to 43 research projects across the UK in its first five rounds, attracting more than £1.7bn in double-match funding from non-public sources. Round six of UKRPIF competition is currently underway, with £220m of capital funding available until 2021, taking the total government investment in the fund to £900m.
- Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. We are responsible for funding, engaging with and understanding these institutions, and working with devolved funding bodies and the Office for Students to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity. We support and challenge universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. We distribute over £2.2bn to universities in England every year in the form of quality-related research (QR) funding, and via the Higher Education Innovation Fund. We are responsible for administering the Research Excellence Framework, used to inform QR funding, and for delivering the forthcoming Knowledge Exchange Framework. We also support specific activities with dedicated project funding, including the £900m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and the £100m Connecting Capability Fund. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 established Research England as a Council of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK. @ResEngland
- The aims of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund are to:
- enhance the research facilities of HEIs undertaking world-leading research
- encourage strategic partnerships between HEIs and with other organisations active in research
- stimulate additional investment in university research
- strengthen the contribution of the research base to economic growth.
- The UKRPIF supports research facilities in universities by attracting investment in research and strengthening its contribution to economic growth. Awards are made on the basis of research excellence, value for money, and projects achieving double-match funding from private sources.
- UKRPIF is administered by Research England in collaboration with the other three UK Higher Education funding bodies – the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.
- Proposals for funding through the UKRPIF are assessed by an independent assessment panel.
- UKRPIF was first launched with £100 million of public finance in May 2012. In response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government tripled the public support to £300 million in autumn 2012 and ran a second round of the special funding initiative. In June 2013, the Government announced a further two rounds of UKRPIF, extending it to 2016-17 and making available an additional £200 million to be allocated over two years. A further £230 million was allocated to projects in round 5 in the competition.
- Further information on the UKRPIF
- Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre