A city university has attracted record levels of investment in its work – strengthening its position as Scotland’s leading research institution. New figures show that Edinburgh University was awarded £250 million to fund its pioneering research in 2011-12 – 37 per cent more than the £183m received the previous year.
The amount is a record for any Scottish university, beating the £249m awarded to Edinburgh in 2008-9. The investment – won in competition with other universities and research centres – supports work across a range of disciplines, including medicine, veterinary medicine, science, engineering and the humanities.
A breakdown of the figures includes £135m from UK research councils and £34m from UK charities including the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.
Derek Waddell, CEO of Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the university’s research and commercialisation office, said: “The investment is very important for the university in terms of the work we are doing, but also in terms of how we are seen internationally – it keeps Edinburgh at the forefront of research.”
The awards are made from a variety of sources, including government, industry, commerce and charities, with the largest award over the last year being £12.6m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to Edinburgh University’s UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre.
Mr Waddell said the £250m investment reinforced Edinburgh’s position as Scotland’s leading research university.
“These record figures again show the strength and depth of the university’s research excellence, as we continue to maintain our position as one of the leading research universities in the United Kingdom,” he added.
“They demonstrate the vital role we play in helping to foster growth in the nation’s economy as we transfer academic knowledge, skills, expertise and intellectual property into the wider community.”
Over the last year, Edinburgh University staff or students created a total of 35 new companies – the same number as in 2010-11. The firms include EoSurgical, a medical student start-up company that designs and manufactures training tools for surgeons to improve their operating skills. The company has won numerous entrepreneurship awards.
Edinburgh University also filed 62 patents to protect new inventions by research staff, and a total of 51 licence agreements to allow commercial use of technologies developed on campus.
£12.6 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre. The centre will oversee a programme of studies on all aspects of carbon capture and storage. Carbon capture and storage involves capturing carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels in power plants and industrial processes, and transporting it to secure geological storage sites under the seabed.
£3.8 million from the Medical Research Council for research on the impact of steroids on cell function in the reproductive system.
£3.5 million from the EPSRC and SUPERGEN Marine Energy Hub towards the UK Centre for Marine Energy Research. The funding will go towards a new wave tank being built at the university to aid marine energy developers. The All-Waters Combined Current and Wave Test Facility, under construction at the university’s King’s Buildings campus, is expected to be completed in summer 2013.
£3.1 million from the EPSRC for Gas-FACTS, a programme that will provide research on carbon capture and storage at natural gas power plants. A few examples of what the funding will be used for: More than £1.5 million from the European Commission to investigate evaluation practices in financial markets.