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£8.8 Million Award to Midlands Universities for Advanced Materials Research

The University of Warwick and Birmingham University have been awarded £8.8 million to help create a new range of advanced materials for use in a wide range of industries including aerospace engineering to medical/healthcare and information and computing technology.

The £8.8 million award comes from the Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the Birmingham Science City initiative.

This new project entitled "Innovative Uses for Advanced Materials in the Modern World" is the second of a three component package that will create a Centre for Advanced Materials that will enhance both universities' already strong reputations in international research, development and exploitation of new advanced materials.

The new Centre will bring together several highly technical and specialised areas of excellence within the Universities to collaborate on three very distinct core projects, namely:

- Project 1: Creating and Characterising Next Generation Advanced Materials

- Project 2: Innovative Uses of Advanced Materials for the Modern World

- Project 3: Advanced Materials Processing.

The Centre will cover activities from fundamental materials design, development and characterisation at the nano-scale (Project 1), development of new uses for advanced materials including the development of processing technologies for the creation of prototype devices (Project 2), and innovative methods for transforming materials through process modeling and advanced materials processing to form new and or improved products or processes (Project 3).

Professor Mark Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Medical research at the University of Warwick said:

"This new £8.8 million award for Project 2 will bring together Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Engineering researchers at both universities to address some of the scientific and technical challenges in the development of new uses for advanced materials. These challenges include the development of materials to operate in harsh environments; the need for materials to sense and respond intelligently to their surroundings and the need for materials to be efficient and sustainable. Working predominantly at a molecular scale, the research teams will initially focus on biosensors, smart biomaterials, sensors for harsh environments, molecular electronics, solar cells and photovoltaics and the control and storage of hazardous compounds. "

Professor Mike Adams FREng, Academic Champion of the Molecules & Materials Collaborative Research Network at the University of Birmingham said:

"This is a unique opportunity to build an internationally leading network of scientists, engineers and medical researchers in order to undertake exciting interdisciplinary research by bringing together the complementary skills of the two institutions. The funding will provide access to some of the most advanced equipment available for studying the properties and behaviour of materials and devices. The planned research includes, for example, the development of biomolecular array technology for protein-based diagnostics and therapeutics, scaffolds for cell growth and prosthetic materials, and probing the electrical response of cells under mechanical stress, which is the basis of human tactile sensing."

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 523708 or 07767 655860

Kate Chapple, Press Officer
Communications Office
University of Birmingham
Tel: 0121 414 2772
Mob 07789 921164

PR76 PJD 8th October 2008