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Research funding boost for University of Southampton

Published: 
12 February 2003

The University of Southampton has been allocated over £28 million to invest in science and technology through the Government's Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF).

The money is part of a £1bn investment in scientific excellence, announced today by Science Minister Lord Sainsbury. Southampton is one of more than 150 universities and institutions to benefit from this, the largest ever UK government investment in research infrastructure. Southampton's allocation of £28,608,502 is the eighth largest in the country.

Welcoming the investment, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, said: "Investment in research is hugely important to British science and we welcome this latest injection of funding for research excellence. World-class research requires world-class facilities and to remain at the cutting edge we must invest in our infrastructure."

The University will be submitting a list of proposed projects to the Higher Education Funding Council for England by the end of May.

Following previous funding rounds, the University has invested significantly in a range of research facilities including the EPSRC Silicon Fabrication Facility, based at Southampton, which supports research across a range of science and engineering disciplines. Funds from the last round of SRIF, research council and industrial funds, including industrial partnerships, are being used to purchase an electron beam direct write lithography system. This strategic piece of equipment writes dimensions below 10 nanometres, further enhancing the Facility's world-leading capability, which is already used by over 50 users from UK Universities.

Funding from the Government's Joint Infrastructure Fund has enabled the University to commission the UK's first remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for deep-sea exploration, which will be based at the Southampton Oceanography Centre.

The state-of-the-art ROV, which starts sea-trials in the Bahamas next month, will be able to explore, observe and conduct experiments down to depths of 6500m, benefiting a generation of talented marine scientists. The ROV will be available for use by researchers from across the country, as part of the marine science technology pool, giving UK marine scientists access to over 50 per cent of the Earth's surface that lies below 3000m depth. The project investment is £4.5 million.

"Across both these research areas, the fundamental research will stimulate direct exploitation through licence agreements with industry and the formation of spin out companies," said Professor Gregson. "This will continue to strengthen Southampton's commitment to technology transfer and innovation"

Notes for editors

  1. The Science Research Investment Fund is a joint initiative by the Department of Trade and Industry's Office of Science and Technology (OST) and the Higher Education Funding Councils in the UK.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.

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