£72 Million Investment to Upgrade UK Research Infrastructure

UKRI investments will be made in areas including medicine, astronomy and aviation to help the UK maintain its status as a science superpower.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced that it is investing a total of £72 million to upgrade the UK’s scientific research infrastructure.

The £72 million funds comes from UKRI’s Infrastructure Fund and Digital Research Infrastructure programme. The investment forms part of the government’s ambition – set out in the Science and Technology Framework – to ensure that the UK has the world-class facilities and equipment necessary to remain a ‘science superpower’.

The investment package includes the following:

  • £23 million for 11 individual wind tunnels, an experimental database and upgrades to existing facilities across the UK’s National Wind Tunnel Facility (NETF) network. The NWTF+ will deliver a network of world-leading wind tunnels to address societal and industrial grand challenges, including: the generation of net zero technologies; advances in emissions reduction; and future technologies for transport, energy, and healthcare.
  • £34 million over five years for BioFAIR, a new digital infrastructure for sharing and reuse of biological and biomedical science data. Bridging the gap between researchers, data sources at individual institutions, and existing data infrastructures, BioFAIR will accelerate discovery and aid research advances in fields as diverse as medicine and agriculture.
  • £6.8 million to scope a second-generation instrumentation suite that will enable essential design and development work to deliver the full instrumentation suite for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).
  • An £8 million investment in the conceptual design of new technologies for next-generation gravitational wave infrastructure.

Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council and UKRI Champion for Infrastructure, Professor Mark Thomson, said:

“Scientists working on research from life sciences to aircraft safety depend on access to the most advanced equipment and facilities.

“This £72 million investment in the UK’s research and innovation infrastructure will ensure the UK is at the forefront of scientific discovery. It will support our scientists in responding to major global challenges including net zero and food security.”

Further details of the investments are available at the UKRI website.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)