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Research funding reaches £125m at University of Nottingham

Research awards made to The University of Nottingham have reached a new record level — exceeding £125 million for the first time.

The university won an unprecedented level of grants for world-changing research in all areas of academic endeavour during the 2006-07 year, across the arts, business, education and engineering, to law, medicine & health, science and social sciences.

The achievement of the £125m landmark figure marks a fourth consecutive record year and keeps the University on target for its ambitious plans for research growth. The funding will contribute to more than a thousand research projects being carried out at the University’s campuses in the UK, Malaysia and China.

This year’s success also reflects the esteem in which Nottingham academics are held by the Research Councils, by government, industry, the EU, the charity sector and by other grant-giving bodies all over the world.

The University is ranked among the UK’s top ten universities for its success in gaining awards from five of the main Research Councils, according to the Times Higher Education Supplement.

The University won more than 100 awards during the 2006-07 year from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, (AHRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Professor David Greenaway, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “These awards are testimony to the quality of researchers which Nottingham attracts and a return on the investment which the University has made in its infrastructure in recent years.

“The activity they support is an important contribution to the UK's science base, the vitality of which is essential to sustaining UK competitiveness internationally.”

Research highlights from the 2006-07 year include:

•Opening of the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences — a centre of excellence bringing together 300 top scientists to tackle global healthcare challenges, with research and infrastructure funding totalling £25m

•£9.9m for the Innovative Manufacturing Centre, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

•£9.1m for the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

•The opening of the £3.2m Nottingham Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre, a new hub for nanotechnology activities across the university

•£2.8m for the Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre, from the EPSRC

•£1.1m for the Nottingham Arabidopsis Stock Centre, from the BBSRC

•£1.1m for the Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage, from the EPSRC

•£1m for research into the molecular basis of the virulence of Clostridium Difficile, from the Medical Research Council

•£932,605 David Phillips Fellowship for the School of Biology, from the BBSRC

•£900,802 for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facilities to support synthetic chemistry, from the EPSRC

•£880,881 for MOET — More Open Electrical Technologies — from the European Union

•£861,728 for SWET — Soft Water Eczema Trial — from the UK Department of Health

•£848,338 for the School of Chemistry, ‘Probing intramolecular dynamical processes in electronically excited states of small aromatic molecules’, from EPSRC

•£791,919 for the GARNet Transcriptomics and Bioinformatics service, Plant Sciences, from the BBSRC

•£762,251 for Platform: Future Technologies in Power Technologies, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, from the EPSRC.

The University of Nottingham has a high proportion of its research activity linked with industry. It is consistently ranked in the top five UK universities for the value of industrial awards, with collaborations with blue chip partners in the major research-using sectors of aerospace, energy, food, pharmaceuticals and information communications technology. Continuing success in technology transfer is evidenced by more than 100 license agreements in the past five years.

This year has also seen a significant increase in research activity at the University’s two overseas campuses.

At Semenyih in Malaysia, a collaboration with Malaysian company Applied Agricultural Resources (AAR) will see a new research centre using the latest molecular techniques. Research will focus on genetic improvements that could make the oil palm more resistant to disease, easier to harvest and more valuable to the producer.

January 2008 will also see the opening of a branch of the Globalisation and Economic Policy Centre (GEP) at the Malaysia Campus. GEP, established in the School of Economics at The University of Nottingham in 2001, is the major centre in Europe studying the impacts of globalisation and economic policy. The launch of the Malaysia branch of GEP will coincide with a two-day conference at the campus on ‘Asian Regionalism: Responding to Globalisation and China’ on January 16-17.

At the China campus, in the coastal city of Ningbo, a new Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology is in the final stages of construction. The Centre has an ambitious research agenda for the coming years and will develop sustainable building techniques to help in the drive towards the ‘carbon neutral’ homes of the future.

The Ningbo campus has also seen the launch of the Centre for Global Finance, which will undertake key research in areas of importance to the development and reform of China's financial sector. The Centre, led by Professor Sue Bishop, former British Consul General in Shanghai, will use the results of research to inform the teaching of Nottingham students and to inform the wider business and policy-making community.

Emma Thorne | alfa
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