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Southampton technologies to share in £85 million investment to drive UK growth

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is to receive over £7 million of an £85 million investment into three key sectors, as part of the government’s ‘eight great technologies’ to drive UK growth.

Speaking at the Global Intelligent Systems conference in London, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the results of a call for proposals issued by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Funding will be made available to more than 20 universities across the UK, including Southampton, to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of Robotics and Autonomous systems, Advanced Materials, and Grid-scale energy storage.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: “For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government’s industrial strategy.”

The investment will underpin key sectors for the UK economy, including automotive, manufacturing, aerospace, energy, and healthcare.

The University of Southampton facilities and research areas benefiting from funding are:
• Professor Jim Scanlan, Professor Damon Teagle and Dr Peter Wilson won a capital grant of £3.5million under the EPSRC Great Technologies Capital Call, Robotics and Autonomous Systems. This will fund three large pieces of research equipment, which will be used to develop novel technologies for unmanned vehicles and systems. The principal goal of this work is to develop highly reliable, lightweight, low cost integrated sensors and structures using rapid manufacturing processes.

• Andy Cruden, as a partner on a capital grant of £4.87million led by Sheffield University under the EPSRC Great Technologies Capital Call, Grid-scale Energy Storage, has won equipment worth £320,000. This will fund several large pieces of research equipment to test modern battery systems, including three x 60kW grid connect inverters, a new lithium-ion battery system and high power cell testers and a rolling road dynamometer capable of testing vehicle battery systems as part of a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy storage system.

• Brian Hayden was awarded £3.3million through the EPSRC Great Technologies Capital Call, Advanced Materials, to develop an advanced composite materials facility, unique to the UK. The facility will aim to create radically new and advanced composite materials for semi-conductor electronics, data storage, photonics, energy storage and energy harvesting and conversion devices.

Professor Philip Nelson, Pro Vice–Chancellor at the University of Southampton, said: “The level of investment in Southampton is a clear reflection of our world-class capability in research and will allow us to continue to be at the forefront of technologies that will drive UK growth.”

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive added: “The successful bids will build capability in areas that are vital for the country and where exciting research is already being carried out. Developing new ways to storing energy, creating new materials for manufacturing and other industries, and increasing our understanding of how autonomous systems communicate, learn and work with humans.”

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