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The University of Southampton

New national research centres set for Southampton after Science and Innovation Award success

Published: 21 January 2008

The University of Southampton is set to play a further key role in developing the UK's research base after receiving a share of national funding worth £23 million to set up two new national research centres.

Following two Science and Innovation Awards from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the top ten UK research University will lead major programmes in Operational Research, and Tribology, the science of friction, lubrication and wear of all interacting surfaces in relative motion. Southampton shares the award for Operational Research with the Universities of Lancaster, Nottingham and Cardiff.

The national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS), for which Southampton will receive £3.26 million from EPSRC, will develop interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and strategic research partnerships with industry to increase understanding of tribological processes at all scales. Research will include developing sensors and novel probes for tribological processes, the tribology of renewable energy systems, and the use of advanced techniques to understand the human cellular and biological reactions and biotribological performance of joint implants.

The National Centre in Foundational Operational Research, which has been awarded £5.4 million by EPSRC, will establish national capacity in the foundations of OR to help address the complexity and uncertainty found in real-world problems. OR uses advanced analytical methods, including mathematical and computer modelling, to arrive at the best solutions to complex problems. Specific application areas include green logistics, for example, the recycling of materials and waste management; healthcare, for example, waiting list reduction; and transport, for example, routing to avoid road congestion and runway scheduling to increase airport efficiency.

Professor Philip Nelson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the Awards, saying: 'The world-class research environment here at Southampton will encourage and support these two new national centres in innovative approaches in their respective science fields. The centres aim to stimulate research across the UK and the international community, as well as help encourage innovation in UK business and industry where appropriate. Crucially, they will also aim to increase the number of trained scientists in each of these areas of research.'

The EPSRC introduced Science and Innovation Awards in 2005 to support strategic areas of research that are particularly at risk in a changing research landscape where traditional core subjects are encountering declining numbers of entrants.

Notes for editors

  • The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. It is one of the UK's top 10 research universities, offering first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering. The University has around 20,000 students and over 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £310 million.

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