The government has announced £213 million of new funding to help researchers tackle humanity’s biggest challenges, such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorism.
The money, which is being delivered as part of the Research & Development Roadmap, will be used to equip scientists, universities and research institutes across the UK with state-of-the-art technology.
It will fund the deployment of new airborne sensors in London to monitor greenhouse gas emission levels, help pay for new equipment at a pioneering floating offshore wind testing lab at the University of Plymouth and help host autonomous marine robotics trials in Southampton to monitor ocean health.
The government has selected these projects to receive a share of the funding as part of its strategy to deliver net zero emissions across the economy by 2050.
In addition to accelerating decarbonisation and reducing pollution, the new round of investment will also tackle other major societal threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorism – it includes £27 million for researchers at 43 of the UK’s Medical Research Institutes.
This £27 million will fund the purchase of ultra-high performing computers and microscopes to better detect, model and tackle disease.
A portion of the money will fund the development of a new ‘blast diagnostics’ laboratory at the University of Sheffield to improve responses to the use of explosives in terrorist attacks.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The response from UK scientists and researchers to coronavirus has been nothing short of phenomenal. We need to match this excellence by ensuring scientific facilities are truly world-class, so scientists can continue carrying out life-changing research for years to come as we build back better from the pandemic.
“From the world’s most detailed telescopes tracking disease to airborne drones monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, our investment will enhance the tools available to our most ambitious innovators across the country. By doing so, scientists and researchers will be able to drive forward extraordinary research that will enable the UK to respond to global challenges such as achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”