Bristol tops lab grant list

May 22, 1998

Britain's crumbling research laboratories were given a Pounds 55 million boost this week with the announcement of 122 separate grants to revitalise labs in 50 universities, writes Julia Hinde.

The biggest winner in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Refurbishing Research Laboratories Inititiative was Bristol University. It netted Pounds 5.7 million for four projects, including nearly Pounds 5 million for "reprovision of synthetic chemistry laboratories".

The cash has been welcomed by universities, but many say it is just a small part of what is needed to bring Britain's labs up to standard.

Other big winners were Liverpool University with just under Pounds 5 million for two projects; London's Imperial College with nearly Pounds 3.9 million for 12 laboratory refits; and Manchester, Cambridge, Birmingham and Southampton universities, which all won close to Pounds 3 million. A further 11 universities, mostly older, established research institutions, won over Pounds 1 million.

Few of the post-1992 universities featured on the list, with only Nottingham Trent, Portsmouth and Plymouth winning six-figure sums.

Oxford University, which topped the 1996 research assessment exercise, received just over Pounds 1.1 million. This will be used to refit 13 separate labs - the highest number of projects at a single university.

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