Scotland is to invest almost £50 million to grow its physics research capabilities in a move which will cement the nations claim to be a global leader in scientific research and discovery.
The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) and the participating universities have confirmed funding of £48 million for the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), the pooling arrangement of 8 Scottish universities committed to sharing resource and expertise in physics research.
The cash will help fund major developments in Scotland’s research infrastructure, including a laser-driven plasma accelerator at the University of Strathclyde and new labs and equipment at the University of St Andrews.
The universities and leading Scottish scientists say the investment will have multiple spin-out benefits for Scotland well beyond the confines of pure physics research. Medical research and technology, industrial and commercial activity, the higher education sector and the NHS are all expected to benefit.
The SUPA bid is intended to give the country’s physics research capabilities a profile and critical mass which will draw world-leading scientists to Scotland and build the nations reputation as a leader in international science.
Dr Louise Richardson, Principal of the University of St Andrews, said, “SUPA is the single largest physics alliance in the United Kingdom and has proved that through collaboration and shared expertise, Scotland has a compelling claim to be at the leading edge of global research and discovery.
“I believe that this is a hugely positive and exciting step for Scottish science and an opportunity to set new international benchmarks for the quality, ambition and vision of our research portfolio.”
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop added, “Scotland’s universities have a worldwide reputation for excellence in research.
“We need to help them grow that expertise, while also encouraging different institutions to work together to better share their knowledge with each other and with Scotland’s business community to help our economy grow and recover from the current downturn.
“This investment will help support those efforts and help us strengthen Scotland’s claim as a world leader in research and development, while also delivering practical benefits for the NHS and medical world.”
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
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Ref: SUPA SFC funding 111109
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