Second round of business-led Prosperity Partnerships that link Research with Industry launched

Published:  27 September, 2018

Seven new Prosperity Partnerships projects that will build links between the UK’s research base and leading industry partners such as AkzoNobel , AstraZeneca, Google, Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel, and Weir Group, plus small-to-medium enterprise, Oxford PV were unveiled recently by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) at Prince Philip House, Carlton Terrace, London.

This EPSRC £20.4 million investment has leveraged in £16.8 million from industry partners and a further £4.9 million from universities.

Prosperity Partnerships are EPSRC’s flagship approach to co-investing with business in long-term, use-inspired, basic research. They are five-year, multimillion pound research collaborations on topics of national and global importance which have been co-created by leading UK universities and businesses with a strong research presence in the UK.

Now in its second year of investment, Business partners are vocal in the value they place on this approach and the co-construction of the collaborative research programmes enabled by EPSRC. Partnerships from the first round are seeing additional foreign investment from the business partners to strengthen relationships even further.

From a UKRI perspective, the programme is making an important contribution to achieving Government’s aspiration of investing 2.4 per cent of GDP in R&D by 2027. This is not only through the initial investment from business but through acting as a gateway for businesses to derive impact from the new knowledge in internal R&D programmes.

The projects cover a wide range of activities and processes that include developing:

• a virtual factory approach to steel production - led by Tata Steel

• new materials for solar panels – with Oxford PV, a SME

• new coatings and paints that are more sustainable – AkzoNobel

• new bio-catalysts for use in the production of medicines – with AstraZeneca

• quantum simulation and software development to harness the power of quantum computing – led by Google

• high-fidelity virtual simulation of a complete gas-turbine engine during operation - partnering with Rolls-Royce

• new well stimulation technology that could improve the exploitation of subsurface energy sources – led by Weir Group

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Executive Chair said: “Our first round of Prosperity Partnerships are proving a great success. They are bringing universities and industry together and applying the creative energies of both to engineering and scientific challenges. Our next round of Partnerships covers a broad range of fields and has, on top of EPSRC’s £20.4 million investment, leveraged in £16.8 million from industry partners and a further £4.9 million from universities. We are confident that these projects will deliver real benefits to all their partners and help the UK research, discover and innovate.”

The new projects map to four of the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges (ISCF) , involve nineteen industry partners and ten universities, and will fund 50 studentships.

Professor Michael J Kearney, Provost & Executive Vice-President of the University of Surrey and Chair of the peer review panel, said: “The panel were very impressed by the overall quality of the proposals under review, which demonstrated existing strengths in University-Industry collaborations as well as exciting, cohesive and innovative plans to move these forward at pace. The work that will be supported is testimony to the strength and breadth of the research base in the UK and the attraction of the Prosperity Partnership scheme.”

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