July 15, 2008

Pounds 65m for World-Class Research Centre


TWO cutting-edge science centres are to be created at the Daresbury campus after the Government announced a pounds 65m investment.

The funding by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) will see a world-leading computer sciences centre and a research facility to develop detector systems at Daresbury.

It is the latest twist in a rollercoaster year for the campus, near Warrington. In January, high-tech science staff at the governmentrun Daresbury Laboratory were put on notice that two- thirds of them could lose their jobs.

After November's comprehensive spending review, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) found an pounds 80m shortfall in its finances that threatened Daresbury's future.

But, earlier this month, STFC's governing council met and agreed to make the campus one of its funding priorities.

Science and Innovation minister Ian Pearson said: "The Government is committed to developing Daresbury as a major international centre of expertise in science and innovation. Today's announcement is proof the future for the site is an exciting one.

Computational science and engineering is now indispensable to the solution of complex problems in every sector. This ranges from traditional science and engineering domains to such key areas as national security, public health and economic innovation."

The centres will enable research to help understand and predict issues from climate change variability to how cells interact in the body, and sensor development, for use in security systems and biomedical imaging.

They will be known as the Hartree Centre (computer modelling) and Detector Systems Centre (sensor development), and also plan to work with the North West Regional Development Agency.

Mr Pearson added: "These centres will conduct world-class research but also act as an important national focal point for collaboration between academic research and industry."

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