DTI announces £6m for building bridges with world class US universities

November 4, 2005

London, 3 November 2005

Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, today announced the four successful projects that have been chosen to build science and innovation bridges with world-class universities and high-tech businesses in the United States to increase industrial competitiveness and knowledge transfer.

The four projects supported by this fund will each receive £1.5m over two years. The details of the areas of activity and partner organisations for each project are:

* University of Manchester will work with University of Washington, the Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Airbus, Boeing and a wide range of businesses in the UK and US on the development of composite materials for use in aircraft design;

* Imperial College London will work with University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Institute of Technology on two areas - treatments for cancer and energy research;

* University of Cambridge will take forward work from their existing collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CMI). The £1.5m allocated from this fund will be used to develop innovative and entrepreneurial skills among students by taking forward CMI's a programme of education and development of new courses; and

* SETsquared Partnership (a collaboration of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey) will work with the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Irvine to develop further their expertise in commercialisation and spinning out their research, especially in the areas of wireless technology, life sciences, the environment and advanced materials.

The Government set out a commitment to promote links between UK universities and US based high technology clusters. The new collaborations, following on from the Cambridge-MIT initiative, will build on existing transatlantic links with the aim of strengthening joint approaches to research and innovation. This initiative aims to encourage wealth creation through improving the transfer of research and expertise from the research base to businesses and other users.

Lord Sainsbury said: "Building bridges between world class universities and high-tech companies in our two countries is an excellent way to generate new opportunities and drive forward innovative ideas.

"These new science and innovation partnerships will help bring together the best of UK and US universities and companies and help make the UK the best place for science and innovation, increasing industrial competitiveness and knowledge transfer."

The four projects will address major themes in knowledge transfer, fostering links between academic and business communities, boosting innovation skills and providing commercial opportunities, particularly in UK manufacturing.

Notes for editors

1. Imperial College London will work with:

* the University of Texas to develop world class research into commercially viable products through sharing the two universities' expertise in molecular biology, experimental cancer medicine and clinical trials in cancer patients; and

* the Georgia Institute of Technology and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the development of clean, secure energy. This collaboration will allow the UK to access world class research facilities which will enable them to turn R&D on energy into commercial products.

2. Cambridge - will build on the achievements of the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) to develop new courses for engineering and biology, evaluate the impact of the teaching of these subjects and deliver training courses for industry managers working with universities and for mid career women. These educational activities will help students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for innovators..

3. Manchester - will work with University of Washington on the development of the next generation of materials for aircraft construction. These new materials will lead to significant savings in the weight of aircraft design - thereby saving fuel and reducing emissions. This project will feed directly into the continuing development of the assembly of new Airbus A350 wing.

4. SETsquared Partnership will work with the University of California to create better links between academics, entrepreneurs, industry, venture investors and technology transfer specialists to help businesses in the southern England to access international markets and venture capital and to promote University-industry collaborations on research. This project will help increase the competitiveness of firms in the region.

Department of Trade and Industry
News release P/2005/347
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