A national team of scientists headed by academics from Durham University is embarking on one of the UK's largest-ever research projects into photovoltaic solar energy. The £6.3 million PV-21 programme will focus on making thin-film light-absorbing cells for solar panels from sustainable and affordable materials. The four-year project, which begins in April, is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under the Supergen initiative. Eight UK universities - led by Durham and including the universities of Bangor, Bath, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Northumbria and Southampton - are involved in the project. They will work together with nine industrial partners towards a medium to long-term goal of making solar energy more competitive and sustainable.