£18 million launch for new industry research partnerships

Office buildings could soon take a breath of fresh air following the launch of a new industry research partnership to promote the take up of green energies in office buildings by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers.

The partnership, Integration of New and Renewable Energy in Buildings (INREB) is one of eight new Faraday Partnerships announced today.

INREB will be looking at ways of reducing the Carbon Dioxide emissions and accelerating the growth of renewable energy products in the UK. With building heating systems exhaling 45% of all UK carbon dioxide emissions the Partnership looks set to give the UK a boost in meeting the targets set following the Kyoto agreement for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.

The partnership may also secure the UK a world-leading place in the renewables industry that could provide an estimated 500,000 additional EU jobs by 2005.

‘This vital investment will have an impact on the future of UK manufacturing and industry and ensure good ideas are properly developed and that researchers understand the potential that their work offers industry,’ said Byers.

According to a statement from the DTI the Partnerships focus on turning academic research into new products and services in a way that enables business, and in particular SME’s, to increase their competitiveness.

The Communications and Mobile Information Technology (COMIT) Partnership, for example, will carry out research into new materials that will provide high quality lightweight displays in cars, aircraft and for personal communications that provide information in ‘real time’.

Led by Southampton University, COMIT involves major UK companies like Marconi as well as inward investors who recognise the strength of UK science and want to invest here.

The eight new partnerships will receive nearly £10m funding from DTI, £1m from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAF) and £7m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council or the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.

‘It is splendid to see that the Faraday Partnership concept is now being extended to cover a wider industrial canvas. The concept has already proved itself effective in allowing smaller companies to take advantage of the research skills in the university sector,’ said Professor Brook from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research council. ‘This enlargement of the programme will bring the benefits to an even wider group.’

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