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AMT receives £87,000 from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio

Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has received an £87,000 grant from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio of green technology for post-processing 3D printed parts. Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation competition was created to help all sectors of the UK recover, grow, and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

AMT was awarded £87,000 to fast-track its research and development program to introduce a new generation of green, bio-renewable chemistries designed specifically for post-processing elastomer materials – commonly used for 3D printed PPE and other Covid-19 related respiratory items.

This next-generation consumable is dedicated to TPU, and other elastomer materials, and will be used in AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing process in addition to AMT’s current organic consumable offering.

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AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology allows manufacturers to seamlessly surface finish thermoplastic 3D printed parts for performance-enhanced end-use products. Benefits of the PostPro chemical vapor smoothing process include creating sealed surfaces for highly regulated applications, such as medical, improved mechanical properties for high-performance applications, and improved aesthetics for consumer parts. PostPro technology is compatible with all industry-leading 3D printing technologies and over 100 thermoplastic materials.

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“Developing sustainable solutions that further the industrialization of additive manufacturing is our primary focus at AMT, and we’ve already proven that with our PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology. By utilizing the Innovate UK Sustainability funding to develop this new consumable for elastomers, we’re furthering the capabilities of our technology in an even more sustainable way for our customers” said Dr. Konstantin Rybalcenko, Global Head of R&D at AMT. “We look forward to working with OEM industrial partners to implement this next-generation consumable into 3D printing factories across the globe”.

AMT is currently using next-generation consumables for prototyping. The final product will be globally available in Q2 2021 for companies to innovate and potentially export.

By Andrea Gambini

Source: 3D Printing Media Network

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International experiment shows strong evidence of undiscovered particles

Innovate UK: A much-anticipated result from an international science experiment provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered subatomic particle or new force.

The result was announced today, from the Muon g-2 experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It provides tantalising evidence that the elementary particles called muons are not behaving in the way they are supposed to according to the leading theory of physics – the Standard Model.

Scientists from the UK, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, have played a vital role in the g-2 experiment.

What is Muon g-2?

The Muon g-2 experiment searches for signs of new particles and forces by precisely examining the muon’s interaction with a surrounding magnetic field.

The muon, when placed in the magnetic field, itself acts like a tiny magnetic compass and like a gyroscope, this compass rotates at a certain precise frequency, predicted by the Standard Model.

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However, the g-2 collaboration has measured this rotation to be faster than predicted – suggesting that our current understanding of physics is incomplete. This hints at the presence of additional particles or hidden subatomic forces that are manifest in the subatomic quantum fluctuations surrounding the muon.

Professor Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said:

“It is an exciting time to be a particle physicist. We know that our current understanding of the universe is incomplete. What we are now seeing from leading experiments, such as g-2, could be the first glimpses behind the curtain into a new world of physics.

The UK, through STFC support, continues to play leading roles in global experiments at the forefront of science. I look forward to the coming years and seeing the next piece of the puzzle fall in place.”

A decade of waiting

This result has been anticipated for over a decade, since a measurement published in 2006 from an experiment at Brookhaven National Lab stood at odds with the Standard Model.

The highly anticipated result from Fermilab pushes the precision of the experiment into uncharted territory in the quest to confirm or refute that finding.

Professor Mark Lancaster of the University of Manchester is the UK lead for the g-2 experiment and an ex co-spokesperson of the experiment.

He said:

“This is a long-awaited measurement and provides strong evidence that hints at the existence of new particles and forces.

We know our current list of fundamental particles and forces is incomplete because they are not sufficient to explain the dark-matter content of the universe or that the universe has very little anti-matter.

This measurement alone has a one in a thousand chance of being a statistical fluke and one in 40 thousand when combined with the previous measurement from Brookhaven.

It falls short of the one in a million gold standard used in particle physics to claim a discovery, but we are already analysing much more data that will significantly improve the precision of the measurement by more than a factor of two.”

This result, along with other recent developments including the LHCb result last week, could suggest that scientists are on the precipice of a new era of physics.
Professor Lancaster added:

“When viewed together with the recent measurements from CERN’s LHCb experiment, there seems to be a pattern emerging of muons behaving differently than our theory predicts.

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This measurement is the most precise measurement ever to be made at a particle accelerator: it has an uncertainty of better than 0.5 parts per million.”

Graziano Venanzoni, co-spokesperson of the Muon g-2 experiment and physicist at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, said:

“Today is an extraordinary day, long awaited not only by us but by the whole international physics community. A large amount of credit goes to our young researchers who, with their talent, ideas and enthusiasm, have allowed us to achieve this incredible result.”

g-2 in the UK

Muon g-2 is an international collaboration between Fermilab and dozens of labs and universities in seven countries, including the UK.

The UK collaboration comprises the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, and UCL and the Cockcroft Accelerator Institute.

STFC has supported the UK’s role in this experiment since 2014 and UK physicists have had a very significant role in the experiment, providing one of the two main detector systems and one of the experiment’s co-spokespersons from 2018-2020.

The build of the straw tracking detectors at Liverpool was led by Professor Themis Bowcock and Dr Joe Price with data acquisition provided by UCL led by Dr Becky Chislett.

Two former PhD STFC-supported students from the UK now have two of the three largest analysis roles in the experiment.

Professor Lancaster added:

“Liverpool University and UCL provided one of the key detector systems for the experiment and this along with the talent and ingenuity of many young researchers has made this measurement possible.”

Source: Science Business

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UK government has announced extra £250M for ongoing research

The UK Government has solidified its ambitions to become a science superpower by pledging an additional £250 million (€292m) to support research and development.

The money, which will come through BEIS, will be used to support pioneering research, providing UK scientists and researchers more recourse to public funds. It will also fund UK research previously sponsored by Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research programme.

WHY IT MATTERS

The investment supports the Government’s commitment to foster R&D innovation in the UK. In the most recent budget, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government’s ambition to raise R&D investment to 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027. 2.4% is the current OECD average.

This cash injection brings the total UK R&D investment for 2021/22 to £14.9 billion (€17.4b). This surpasses the goal set in the November 2020 Spending Review.

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The £250m is in addition to £400m set aside for UKRI and National Academies for 2021/22.

It is still unclear, however, how the UK will pay for its associate membership to Horizon Europe. Some commentators fear it could come out of UKRI’s budget, which would severely impact the UK’s research community and diminish available funds in real terms.

When Britain left the EU, it lost its membership to the research programme. The projected fee to remain in the 7 year programme as part of the UK–EU TCA is £14 billion.

The £250m will be used to support projects that were already part of Horizon.

THE LARGER PICTURE

In its bid to become a science superpower, the UK government recently announced ARIA, which will focus on high-risk, high-reward science and technology and fast-track radical innovation through bureaucratic processes.

The UK also recently released a report on the future of clinical research delivery, which called for clinical research to be embedded in the NHS whilst promoting digital tools to make research more streamlined, accessible and patient-focused.

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ON THE RECORD

UKRI CEO Ottoline Leyser commented: “This additional funding for research and innovation is most welcome and reaffirms the government’s commitment to an R&D-led recovery. UKRI will be working hard with government and the whole research and innovation community to make the most of the significant public investment entrusted to us to build an inclusive and sustainable knowledge economy, now and for the future.”

Dr Joe Marshall, CEO of the National Centre for Universities and Business, was less enthusiastic, however: “The announcement of a £250m uplift in research funding sounds positive on the surface, however it masks a worrying reality. The new cost of more than £1bn each year for association to the EU’s Horizon research programme will now be taken from the research budget. This results in a real term cut in research funding. If the government is serious about being a science superpower, it needs to invest more, not less in research.”

By Sophie Porter

Source: Healthcare IT News

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Leading female entrepreneurs win national award for new projects in the tech world

Leading female entrepreneurs have won a national award for their new projects in the tech world.

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation awards recognised 12 women from London who have exciting ideas and business plans, recognising the challenges and subconscious bias that exists in the start-up tech sphere.

Among the London winners, Dr Lucy Grundlingh, 34, from Clapham was awarded for her work as co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at SFR Medical, a social impact ‘MedTech’ company.

Dr Grundlingh connects UK police forces with medical institutions to quicken the process of collecting medical evidence with victims of violent crime.

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The technology used at SFR Medical creates 3D graphical reconstructions of wounds which helps NHS administrative staff when collecting medical records, and police officers and jurors when making decisions about suspects.

Sarah Henley, 37, from Old Kent Road in Southwark also won the grant for developing NextUp Comedy which brought a digital, live-streamed comedy festival into people’s homes during the pandemic.

Ms Henley’s tech helps create vital additional revenue streams for venues and performers during Covid-19 whilst making comedy shows more accessible for the public.

Bella Trang Ngo, 25, from East Croydon was celebrated for revolutionising bra fitting services with her AI technology company, Brarista.

Ms Ngo says she is hoping to disrupt the £14 billion bra market by combining her own professional experience as a trained bra fitter with AI-enabled visual software.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway MP said: “As we build back better, it’s a priority of mine that we continue equipping our brightest female innovators with the tools they need to succeed.

“I am delighted we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their ideas and aspirations into a reality.

“Creating the products and services will help improve all our lives, while powering up the UK’s economic recovery.”

Women in Innovation Awards is funded by the government and is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which seeks to boost the number of female entrepreneurs, and could subsequently deliver £180 billion to the economy.

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year for everyone, and particularly women, continuing to support female entrepreneurs has been a real priority.

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“We have had an enormous response and we can see some positives from the pandemic, with some of our shortlist inspired to start up a business in response to some of the challenges it has brought.

“We can’t wait to see what else these inspiring women achieve and how they can be an example to inspire the next generation and to encourage more women-led businesses in this country as we rebuild and recover.”

Winners are given a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

By Lizzie May

Source: London News Online

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Innovate UK: UKRI announces close to £1.3M of funding for digital energy data projects

UKRI has today announced close to £1.3 million of new funding across nine innovative new digital energy data projects.

The funding is being awarded through UKRI’s ‘Modernising Energy Data Applications (MEDA) phase 1’ competition overseen by the Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge.

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In the competition, projects were required to develop data applications that address the challenges faced by organisations and individuals to deliver net-zero local energy systems. The nine winning applicants are:

  • Urbantide Ltd
  • Alian Ltd
  • Brits Energy Ltd
  • City Science Corporation Ltd
  • Power My Hub Ltd
  • Zuhlke Engineering Ltd
  • GL Industrial Services UK Ltd
  • Mind Foundry Ltd
  • Advanced Infrastructure Technology Ltd.

The competition ran through Autumn 2020 and is the first of a two-phase opportunity that will be followed by the development and testing of prototypes from these winning projects.

Providing scalable commercial opportunities

Projects were required to demonstrate their benefits to the users of local energy systems, provide scalable commercial opportunities, and utilise the Open Energy data architecture being developed through projects funded under the previous MEDA competition.

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The successful projects include Urbantide’s solution to integrate the smart meter system data across the UK to identify those who would benefit from energy efficient measures – and offer appropriate solutions. They also include Brits Energy’s technology platform for maximising the benefits of digitally-controlled crop production by managing the energy input.

Rob Saunders, challenge director for the Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, said:

“The quality and range of concepts put forward in this initial competition not only shows what is possible by using some of the newest ideas in data and technology, but also highlights the variety of inefficiencies in the current energy landscape that can be improved as we move towards our net-zero ambitions in the UK.

Whether it’s industry, farming, investment or efficiency for people’s homes, there is a part to play for innovative technology that reduces usage for us all. We are now looking forward to helping these projects move to the next phase of bringing their solutions to life through testing and development of the ideas.”

Source: Science Business

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R&D threat “averted”, as government adds £250m this year

Scientists and researchers in the UK will be given an extra £250m in funding this year, to support “pioneering research” and drive the UK’s ambitions to become a “science superpower”, the country’s government has announced.

The funding will help to pay for the UK’s association with Horizon Europe, the European Union’s funding program for research and innovation. The announcement comes after Universities UK expressed concerns about how the UK’s participation in the scheme was to be funded.

UUK had argued that if the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was required to fund the costs of participation out of the existing science budget, it would amount to an effective cut of something in excess of £1bn.

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Now the government has said that UK scientists will have access to more public funding “than ever before”. The new funding will take total government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021/22 and follows four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5bn in 2020/21.

“This investment reinforces the government’s commitment to putting research and development at the heart of plans to build back better from the pandemic,” BEIS said in a statement.

“It will support vital and pioneering research while enabling the UK’s brilliant scientists, researchers and businesses to access and benefit from the world’s largest collaborative research programme, Horizon Europe – worth around €95 billion over the next decade.”

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Last month the government announced the new Advanced Research & Invention Agency, backed with £800 million by 2024/25 and tasked with funding “high-risk, high-payoff research that offers the chance of high rewards, supporting ground-breaking discoveries that could transform people’s lives for the better”.

BEIS said that the government remains committed to reaching its target of 2.4% of GDP being spent on R&D across the UK economy by 2027 and increasing the budget for research and development to £22bn.

“We are very pleased that the government has averted threats to UK science and research by allocating additional funding to support the UK’s association to Horizon Europe; and welcome their commitment to increase investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027,” said Julia Buckingham, president of UUK.

“Given current pressures on public finances this is a significant affirmation of the government’s belief in research, recognising the pivotal role it plays in the UK’s current and future prosperity, and ensuring UK universities will remain at the forefront of efforts to address the most pressing global challenges,” she added.

By Will Nott

Source: The Pie News

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Innovate UK funding for more sustainable lithium ion battery recycling

The surge in electric vehicles has created a need for effective lithium ion battery recycling in the UK. A solution is a step closer, as Fenix Battery Recycling, Ever Resource and the University of Birmingham have received £955K in Innovate UK funding to develop an innovative technology to make lithium ion battery recycling cleaner and more sustainable.

The funding from the Government’s Innovate UK Smart Grants programme, is for the development of separation technologies for end-of-life lithium ion batteries. The £25 million Innovate UK Smart Grants programme provides funding to organisations delivering game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Emma Kendrick, Professor of Energy Materials at the University of Birmingham and her research group, including Dr Rob Somerville have invented a process which physically separates, without any chemical processing, anode-arisings and cathode-arisings in shredded end-of-life lithium batteries. This technology has significant potential to make all types of downstream recycling processes cleaner and more sustainable and the researchers believe the technology can be extended to other battery types.

Working with Ever Resource Ltd and Fenix Battery Recycling, the Innovate UK funding will allow the technology to be scaled up, so that it can be used in commercial battery recycling.

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Ever Resource Ltd is a circular economy innovator, turning waste into feed-stock and producing value-added products from end-of-life materials. Fenix Battery Recycling is developing a facility to offer on-site recycling for multiple battery types including lithium ion from its shredding and recycling plant in Willenhall, West Midlands and its latest site in Kilwinning, Scotland.

“Lithium ion is at the forefront of the electric transport and energy storage revolution. The market for these batteries is currently growing at a compound annual growth rate of 18% – but there is no cradle-to-grave solution for all of the technology metals and minerals used to manufacture these batteries,” says Dr Athan Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Ever Resource and Director of Technology for Fenix Battery Recycling.

He added: “To support global recycling initiatives in this space, we are developing an innovative system which physically separates with more than 99% efficiency anode-arisings and cathode-arisings in shredded end-of-life lithium batteries. By separating these component streams before downstream chemical or metallurgical processing, we are making recycling cleaner, greener and more economically sensible.”

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Fenix Battery Recycling’s Willenhall plant has been ready to recycle alkaline batteries since October 2020. It will become fully operational once it receives its permit from the Environment Agency – a process which has been delayed by Covid-19.

“Our Willenhall plant has been ready to open its doors since October 2020, so we look forward to receiving the permit very soon,” explains Damian Lambkin, Commercial and Business Development Director at Fenix Battery Recycling. “We are also accepting lithium ion batteries now, which we will store at our fully licensed and permitted site in Kilwinning, Scotland, ready for recycling when our lithium ion shredding operation kicks off in the next 6-12 months. We are in a position to be storing and discharging already and will be able to start this as part of the treatment process as we receive the materials.”

The project, which is funded by Innovate UK’s SMART framework, is supported by Formula E (the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship), a single-seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars.

Source: MHW Magazine

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More Money for R&D After Scientists Warn on ‘Catastrophic Cuts’

The Government announced an extra £250 million to support research and development (R&D) after leading scientists warned of “catastrophic” cuts to research budgets that they said could cost the sector billions of pounds and demolish Boris Johnson’s ambition to make the UK a science superpower.

Their concerns centre around a ‘triple whammy’ of cuts to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, the cost of staying in the EU’s Horizon Europe project, and the impact of COVID-19 on funding for medical research charities.

They have warned that the impact will cost jobs and allow the UK’s competitors to fill the science gap.

“Some of the cuts that we have been hearing about would be catastrophic, even existential,” according to Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse. Sir Paul, who is chief executive officer at the Francis Crick Institute, said: “It will drive scientists elsewhere, it will destroy networks, it will damage the UK’s soft power… to make connections throughout the world, which is of course another policy of government. None of this makes any sense.”

Prof Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, warned that unless the cuts were urgently restored, “the damage may be irreversible” and would take years to turn around.

“At stake is not only the reputation of the UK and the credibility of the promises, but really the whole science enterprise and the relationship with the rest of the world,” he told a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre this week.

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Funding for EU’s Horizon Europe Programme

Concerns were heightened by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget last month which focused extra spending on recovery from the pandemic but failed to announce provision for the UK’s associate membership of Horizon Europe.

Participation in Horizon Europe was agreed as part of the Brexit trade deal. Previously, membership of the research programme’s predecessor, Horizon 2020, was paid for out of the UK’s contribution to the EU’s budget.

Now, scientists are worried that, without a Treasury funding commitment, the cost of membership might have to be met by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the umbrella agency that directs the Government’s science funding, from its existing resources.

“I think there’s widespread agreement that, working through the numbers, the bill will average about £2 billion per year over the 7 years of the programme,” according to Prof Sarah Main, executive director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Meeting a commitment on this scale without a Government spending promise “will require huge disruption to scientific programmes across the UK science portfolio,” she said.

Last week, the Commons Science and Technology Committee published a letter to the Prime Minister in which it expressed alarm about potential cuts.

It welcomed the Government’s commitment to increase R&D expenditure to £22 billion a year by 2024-25, and to invest 2.4% of gross domestic product in R&D by 2027.

However, it described as “devastating” any suggestion that the UKRI budget could be effectively cut by almost a quarter, ” which would reverse 2 years of intended increases and mean that the ambition for Britain to be a Science Superpower would be deferred for much of this Parliament”.

Cuts to Overseas Development Budget

On March 11, UKRI announced a £120 million shortfall for research funded from the overseas development budget for the upcoming financial year as a result of cuts to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s ODA allocation. It warned that some grants would have to be reduced, and others terminated.

“The problems addressed by international development research are not isolated overseas,” commented Prof David Price, vice-provost of University College London. “Raising levels of health, wellbeing, and prosperity in low- and middle-income countries serves the UK’s interests too. A ‘Global Britain’’ will need trading partners, engaged allies, and nations that recognise our mutual interests.”

The cuts had already forced universities to abandon current research projects with international partners, Universities UK said in a letter last month to Boris Johnson.

Prof Julia Buckingham, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of Brunel University London, warned of a ‘brain drain’ without a change of course.

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“Once lost, research capacity takes a very long time to rebuild, and the UK will lose ground to other countries in Europe and around the world,” she said, noting that the US and China “are currently ramping up their investments in science”.

Medical Charities Have Seen a Fall in Funding

Current funding uncertainty for science coincides with a drop in fundraising revenue for medical research charities of 41% due to the pandemic.

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) said despite reliance on science and the UK’s research base to help lift the country out of the crisis, the Government had “chosen yet again not to provide any clear support for charity-funded medical research in the Budget”.

Hilary Reynolds, AMRC chief executive, said: “Research has saved millions of lives during this pandemic – now we must save research.”

Prof Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Cutting the UK research budget now would be catastrophic for science – delaying important discoveries, robbing patients of a better future, and missing a golden opportunity to fuel our economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Such deep cuts would be incompatible with the Prime Minister’s own vision of the UK as a global science superpower.”

Sir Paul Nurse appealed for ministers to protect the UK’s science budget. “I am sure the Government will see sense over this,” he said. “I mean they cannot possibly not see sense, because it is all so very obvious if you just listen to what everybody has to say. If they can’t see sense, they have no right to govern.”

£250 Billion Funding

On April 1, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said its allocation of an extra £250 billion took total Government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021-22, which it said was the highest level in four decades.

It promised that associated membership of Horizon Europe would involve paying a “fair and appropriate” share into the programme’s budget. Ongoing UK research projects already awarded under Horizon 2020 would continue to receive funding.

A spokesperson for BEIS said: “We are working with our delivery partners, including UK Research and Innovation, to implement a new research and development settlement for 2021/22 – which includes our participation in Horizon Europe – as part of our wider commitment to maintain the UK’s world class reputation for science, research, and innovation.

“In particular, this year alone we will spend more than £10 billion to address poverty, tackle climate change, fight COVID, and improve global health.

“We are also backing our new Advanced Research and Invention Agency with £800 million to support transformational high risk, high reward science.”

By Peter Russell

Source: Medscape

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£250m Additional Funding to Boost Collaboration and Ongoing Research

Scientists and researchers will get an extra £250 million funding this year to support pioneering research and drive the UK’s ambitions to become a science superpower.

As a result, UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before. This takes total Government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021/22 and follows four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5 billion in 2020/21.

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It will mean UK Government R&D spending is now at its highest level in four decades.

This investment reinforces the Government’s commitment to putting research and development at the heart of plans to build back better from the pandemic. It will support vital and pioneering research while enabling the UK’s brilliant scientists, researchers and businesses to access and benefit from the world’s largest collaborative research programme, Horizon Europe – worth around €95 billion over the next decade.

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Last month the Government announced the new Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA), backed with £800 million by 2024/25 and tasked with funding high-risk, high-payoff research that offers the chance of high rewards, supporting ground-breaking discoveries that could transform people’s lives for the better.

The Government remains committed to reaching its target of 2.4% of GDP being spent on R&D across the UK economy by 2027 and increasing the budget for research and development to £22 billion.

Source: India Education Diary

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