Labs scoop £65m funds with promise of more riches to come

December 21, 2000

The final round of the Joint Research Equipment Initiative saw £33 million awarded to British universities.

This was matched by £32 million in external funding from industry and charities. The money is to be used for equipment needed in scientific research.

The initiative began in 1996 and is run in two parts. Competition A is run by five of the research councils with the Office of Science and Technology and accepts bids up to £150,000. The four funding councils run Competition B, which considers requests for more than £150,000.

From next year, Competition B will be subsumed into the new Science Research Investment Fund. The £1 billion fund will also subsidise projects like those covered by the Joint Infrastructure Fund. It will retain elements of the JREI, such as requiring research projects to be partnerships between academics and industrial bodies.

Sir Brian Fender, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said the JREI had been "instrumental in fostering valuable partnerships between higher education and industry". He said the SRIF would enable larger projects in the future, representing "a much bigger pot of money for the sector", which would not "impose the burden of an annual bidding exercise". Competition A will continue as in previous years.

Hefce announced 32 Competition B awards worth £15.6 million. The largest is £1.38 million for Guy's, King's and St Thomas's School of Medicine to purchase a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Other projects include establishing a proteomics facility at Leeds University.

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council made awards totalling almost £3 million. These included more than £800,000 for a collaboration between Glasgow and Edinburgh universities to establish a Scottish Computing Centre to analyse data from the Large Hadron Collider at Cern.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales awarded a total of £1.1 million to four projects based at Cardiff University and the University of Wales, Bangor.

Almost £14 million of Competition Aawards will go to 175 projects at 53 universities. These include a mobile climate change laboratory at York University.

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