Virtual knowledge

Manchester University will play a key role in a new ‘virtual’ £30m Knowledge Centre for Material Chemistry (KCMC) at Daresbury.

Manchester University is to play a key role in a new ‘virtual’ £30m Knowledge Centre for Material Chemistry (KCMC) at Daresbury.

The KCMC, which has been launched by John Denham, secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, will operate in collaboration with key partners at the universities of Manchester, Bolton and Liverpool, as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury and Chemistry Innovation.

The centre will help the Daresbury campus become a hub for research in an area of science that is crucial in delivering new products and improvements in areas such as bio-medics, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy sources.

It will provide a single point of access for industry to a wide spectrum of multi-disciplinary research in applied materials chemistry, in order to achieve innovative knowledge transfer for companies of all sizes.

Prof Mike Turner of Manchester University, said: ‘Manchester scientists will work closely with industrial collaborators developing new materials or processes for applications in printable electronics, pharmacetical science, energy and medicine. New facilities will be available for the characterisation of surfaces, the fabrication of electronic devices under inert atmospheres and the determination of molecular and materials structure by mass spectrometry and X-ray scattering.’

Initial funding of £8m from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) is matched by £7m of academic commitment and resources by academic partner institutions.

The initial focus of the centre will seek to create more than 200 new collaborations between UK-based companies and the knowledge base embedded in the academic partner institutions.

With a dedicated team of 15 new project scientists, it will work in collaboration with industry on translational research projects that will enable companies to develop new commercial opportunities.

An independent knowledge transfer team hosted by Chemistry Innovation – the Knowledge Transfer Network for UK chemistry-using industries – will develop and manage the collaborative research projects, drive increased industrial R&D spend, and ensure the services of the centre are effectively linked to industry need.