The reclamation of "brownfield" sites, the economics of renewable energy sources, high-tech materials for medical uses, and food hygiene and nutrition are among 17 projects backed by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council to help meet Scotland's needs in the next century.
SHEFC has announced more than Pounds 7.5 million support over the next three years for key strategic research facilities under its research development grant. Institutions can make annual bids under the scheme, which will run until at least 2001-02.
The largest award, Pounds 620,000, will help set up a centre for economic renewable power delivery at Glasgow University, building on collaborative research between Glasgow and Strathclyde. Glasgow has also won Pounds 430,000 for genetic screening to improve the prevention and treatment of common diseases, while Strathclyde has won almost Pounds 1.5 million for centres in leading-edge ultrasonic technologies, "lab-on-a-chip" technology and drug delivery methods.
Aberdeen University will develop biological tracers that can track blood and chemical flows in patients' bodies, the Scottish College of Textiles will research biomedical materials as replacements for human tissue, and Heriot-Watt University will bring together health experts and financiers to develop simulation and prediction strategies which will both help treat cardiac patients and forecast financial markets.
Edinburgh will bring together a consortium of experts to tackle the problem of contaminated brownfield sites, while Paisley University aims to produce solutions to land pollution and waste management.
Other beneficiaries include Glasgow Caledonian University, which will develop a state-of-the-art resource for the Scottish construction industry, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, which is to set up a national centre for research in the performing arts.