North West awarded £30m for new chemistry centre

The Universities of Liverpool, Bolton, Manchester and Daresbury Laboratory have been awarded £30 million for a Centre for Materials Chemistry aimed at supporting industry in the development of innovative new technologies and products.

The Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry (KCMC) will be launched by the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham, and will provide industry with a single point of access to world-class research in the advancement of materials in areas such as pharmaceuticals, electronics and energy sources.

John Denham said: “The KCMC is a fantastic initiative with huge potential to explore many exciting areas. It gives me great pleasure to see the centre launched at the Daresbury campus – helping to place it as the major, international, science and innovation hub it deserves to be. Some of the very best science has been carried out at Daresbury and the launch of the KCMC is a further step towards ensuring this proud tradition continues.”

The University of Liverpool also leads the Centre for Materials Discovery which allows industry access to High-Throughput (HT) technology that enhances research understanding by producing large numbers of materials and testing them in parallel.  The new knowledge centre will build on this research and allow businesses to work closely with internationally recognised experts in materials chemistry.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jon Saunders, said: “The University of Liverpool is a world-leading centre of excellence in materials chemistry and this investment will ensure we continue to play a major role in advancing the research capability of the region.  The new knowledge centre will accelerate our work with industry to develop materials for application in areas such as medicine, energy storage and communications technology.” 

The investment will create up to 20 new jobs and establish work-based training schemes to further develop the scientific expertise of chemistry-based companies. The centre will also seek to create more than 200 new collaborations between business and the knowledge base that will deliver new commercial opportunities.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “The region’s chemical industry has a turnover of £10 billion per annum, with at least half of the companies in the sector relying in some way on materials chemistry. This project will enable the leading materials chemistry research centres in the North West to better exploit their capabilities in order to drive significant industrial growth in the region.”

The Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry will be launched on Thursday, 26 March, at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory.

Notes to editors:

1.  Research into materials chemistry at Liverpool is also supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Complex Materials Discovery Portfolio Partnership.  The project focuses on the challenge to control the assembly of atoms and molecules into novel forms as the basis for new physical phenomena and next-generation technologies.

2.  The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

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