IT infrastructure receives multi-million pound boost

The UK’s higher education and college IT network, JANET, is to benefit from a £31 million boost from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

December 4, 2011

The money is part of a £158 million investment in e-infrastructure announced by the government last week.

Funding has also been awarded for specialist supercomputers in areas such as particle physics and astronomy (£19 million) and high capacity data storage across the research councils (£24 million).

A further £6.5 million is being made available to establish a research fund for projects to improve access to e-infrastructure.

However, there are fears that a move to partially-fund JANET from individual universities’ contributions could see some institutions opt out to get a better deal elsewhere.

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said: “We should not think of infrastructure as just roads and railways – it’s also the networks and systems that underpin our world-leading science and research base.

“This ambitious and forward-looking programme of investment will be vital for businesses and universities alike.

“It will improve research and manufacturing processes and reduce the time and money it takes to bring a product to market.”

Rick Rylance, the chair of Research Councils UK, said the money was “especially welcome in the challenging economic times we all face”.

“Investment in high performance computing and increased data storage capacity is essential to ensure research in the UK remains at the cutting-edge in the most advanced areas and is capable of stimulating growth,” he said.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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