UKRI to Invest £481 million in R&I Infrastructure over next Three Years

The investment will support 23 major infrastructure projects across a wide array of disciplines, from heritage science and population studies to healthcare and climate change.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced that it will invest £481 million through its Infrastructure Fund to support 23 major infrastructure projects and nine scoping studies over the next three years.

The investment will support new and upgraded facilities across the UK and strengthen capability and expertise across a range of disciplines, including the arts, physics, life and environmental science, social science, medicine and more. This will support ground-breaking research to tackle a range of societal issues, from the impacts of climate change to adolescent mental health.

Examples of projects that will be funded (subject to business case approval) include the following:

  • Diamond-II (£81.5 million over the next three years): Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron, harnessing the power of electrons to produce an intense beam of light that can be used like a giant microscope. Diamond II will deploy a transformative new technology to provide a 70-fold improvement in the brightness of its light beams, opening up new insights into materials research, as well as increasing throughput to accelerate materials discovery or drug development.
  • CoSTAR (£24.2 million over the next three years): A new creative facility for the UK’s screen, gaming and performance sectors will support fast-growing creative industries to develop new products and experiences. It will comprise a central hub and experimental studio fitted with real-time digital technologies such as motion and volumetric capture.
  • National facility for ultra-high field (11.7T) human MRI scanning (£15 million over the next three years): The national facility for ultra-high field human MRI scanning will provide the research community with the highest performance MRI scanning technology currently available. This will drive new insights into brain functionality and the mechanisms of human disease.
  • Research Infrastructure for Conservation and Heritage Science (RICHeS) (£15.8 million over the next three years): RICHeS will be a network of facilities and expertise in the interdisciplinary field of heritage science. As a ‘hub and spoke’ infrastructure, it brings together over 50 UK heritage organisations and provides them with access to state of the art infrastructure to analyse, digitise and archive national treasures.
  • John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory Next Generation Infrastructure (£54.7 million over the next three years): The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich are internationally recognised centres of excellence in plant and microbial science. This investment will transform the existing capabilities of both centres via new and shared interdisciplinary research facilities with a goal for the facility to be net zero.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

“The UK is home to world-renowned facilities in a wide range of fields, which act as global hubs for research and innovation.

“We must ensure that we renew and upgrade that capability to keep pace with technological advances, empowering our researchers and innovators to go further faster.

“Today, we are investing £481 million across the UK that will ensure our talented people, teams and innovative businesses have access to the world-class infrastructure they need to unlock their full potential.”

Full details of all the funded infrastructure projects are available here.

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