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EPSRC commits £70m to invest across UK science research

27 Mar 2015

Including substantial capital investment and backing for photonics-related R&D.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the UK’s main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences has announced it is investing more than £70 million into new UK science research including several substantial photonics-related projects. The research is intended to tackle a range of current challenges ranging from searching vast volumes of visual data to addressing airport capacity issues. The investment will be used for equipment and project work at 18 universities across the UK.

EPSRC Chief Executive Professor Philip Nelson commented, “Investment in world-class projects, equipment and people helps to make the UK the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate. This £70 million package will fuel the UK's technological progress, help address the challenges of today and tomorrow, and contribute to a strong economy.”

The support comprises more than £30m (€41m/$45m) of capital funding for 31 bundles of new equipment, including ultra-bright lasers, electron microscopes and X-ray imaging, to support a wide range of research activities. In addition, more than £40m (€55m/$60m) will be invested in research projects spanning physical sciences, engineering and ICT. The projects include:

SeeBiByte: Computer scientists at the University of Oxford intend to use their £4.5m grant to develop next-generation computer vision methods to analyze, describe and search image and video content with “human-like” capabilities. Data and image analytics is still at an early stage of development. The work could have applications ranging from healthcare, surveillance, and environmental monitoring of roads, through to new means of enjoying digital media in the home. This project is partly supported by the UK Research Councils’ Digital Economy Program.

Spectroscopy and microscopy

Also at Oxford University, almost £860,000 is being invested in an experimental equipment upgrade of the DiPOLE Laser on the Helmholtz Beamline at XFEL.

EPSRC-supported research will be in: Advanced Materials and Materials Engineering; Energy and Transport; and development of novel physical science methods and analytical techniques and their application to challenges in the biological and medical sciences.

Other photonics awards

At Leeds, £950,000 will be invested in terahertz frequency optoelectronic devices, to refresh and update key items of experimental equipment in activities.; Cardiff will receive £732,000 for a “third generation" multi photon microscope.

Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded £1,040,000 for equipment and research associated with an ultra-bright, few-cycle capability for the TARANIS laser.

Glasgow University will receive £697,621 for its Microscopy Research laboratory, which is working on such projects as synthetic biology, system on chip, water engineering and catalysis & applied catalysis, hemical synthesis, design of process systems, and digital signal processing.

King's College London is getting £803,971 support for work in its Advanced Materials for Nanophotonics Facility.

Swansea received £2,524,228 for work on the advanced imaging of materials; University College London received £611,339 for advanced test equipment for future wireless and optical systems research, while the /b>University of Surrey is receiving £1,129,000 for sensor networks to monitor and measure human movement for healthcare in the community.


The following video shows the breadth and impact of EPSRC investments:

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

Iridian Spectral TechnologiesCeNing Optics Co LtdTRIOPTICS GmbHMad City Labs, Inc.CHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.AlluxaECOPTIK
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