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RCUK Science Bridges awards 2009

Professor Mark Beach

Professor Mark Beach

Professor Joe McGeehan

Professor Joe McGeehan

Press release issued: 3 February 2009

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have announced £12 million of funding for collaborations between British universities and institutions in China, India and the US.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have announced £12 million of funding for collaborations between British universities and institutions in China, India and the US.

The Science Bridges awards include a UK-China research project, which hopes to ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of fourth generation (4G) wireless communication technologies.

The three-year, £900,000 grant, has been made to a consortium, including Bristol University’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.  The project will focus on building science bridges between the UK and China in 4G wireless communications.  The consortium will look at new developments in high-speed, secure internet communications and accelerate knowledge transfer and commercialisation for both countries in wireless communications.  There is currently no long-term joint research initiative between the UK and China in wireless communications.

Professors Mark Beach and Joe McGeehan of the Centre for Communications Research at the University of Bristol, said: “China is an ambitious and increasingly significant country that influences the international standardisation process of 4G wireless communications, due to its huge potential market and strong support from the Chinese Government.”

Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, said: “The RCUK Science Bridges Awards are an excellent example of how the UK is encouraging research which has both strong international collaborations and close links with business.

“By working with international partners we can benefit from their expertise and get more value from our investment in the UK’s world class research community. These collaborations have the potential to provide solutions to important challenges facing the UK and the world, in areas such as sustainable biofuels, food and water security and healthcare.”

Other RCUK Science Bridges awards approved this year are a UK-Indian research project which aims to deliver sustainable decentralised bioenergy for both the developed and developing world and a project by Manchester University and Boston (US) looking into new healthcare technologies.

Professor Ian Diamond, RCUK Chair, said: “We would like to congratulate the award winners. The UK already participates in a huge amount of collaborative research globally and we hope UK businesses and the wider global community will reap the economic and environmental benefits arising from these research partnerships.”


UK-China Science Bridges

Queen’s University Belfast and Tsinghua and Zhejiang Universities in China: UK-China Science Bridge in Sustainable Energy and Built Environment

Heriot-Watt University, University of Edinburgh, University of Bristol, University of Southampton, University of Bedfordshire, University College London and 13 Chinese consortium members including seven universities and six companies.: UK-China Science Bridges: R&D on 4G Wireless Mobile Communications

Lancaster University and several labs in China: Water availability and quality: natural environments, domestic use and food production

University of Bradford and various Chinese partner institutions: Science Bridges: Bradford-China Programme for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medical Technology

UK-India Science Bridges

University of Aston and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi: Bioenergy: Technology and Business Solutions for the UK

University of Leeds and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Indian Agricultural Research Institute: Sustainable Indo-UK Agricultural Initiative

University of Nottingham and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore: Biopharm 2020: Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Indian/UK Scientists in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries

UK-US Science Bridges

University of Cambridge and University of California at Santa Barbara: Harnessing Materials for Energy

Universities of Strathclyde, St. Andrews, Heriot-Watt and Glasgow and California (Stanford and Caltech): Stanford-Scotland Photonics Innovation Collaboration

University of Manchester and CIMIT Boston: Innovative Technology for healthcare delivery



Further information

Background to the awards

The first Science Bridges was funded by UK Government in 2006 to support existing collaborations between the UK and USA by taking research results towards commercialisation and undertaking proof of concept studies. They have now been extended to include the emerging super-economies of China and India.

This set of awards has been made to UK institutions with extant research links with the US, China and India to accelerate the deployment of research knowledge, deepen and strengthen current research links, enable the acquisition of new skills and encourage wealth creation through improving the transfer of research and expertise from the research base to businesses and other users by building science and innovation bridges with world-class universities and high-tech businesses.

The RCUK funding is being boosted with some additional funding coming from the three partner countries involved. Each country can receive awards up to a total value of £4 million over three years. Four UK-China, three UK-India and three UK-US collaborations have been awarded funding this time.

Funding information

The Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) is actively partnering Research Councils UK in supporting Science Bridge partnerships and will provide the financial resource (up to £4million matching the support to UK Institutions) to the partner Indian Institutions of the successful applications.

The FCO Science and Innovation Network in the US will offer the opportunity to Full Proposal stage applicants to apply for financial assistance (Research Exploitation Development Awards) to enable them to develop proposals with their US partners. The Network will also work with Full Proposal stage applicants who are unsuccessful in winning a Science Bridge award to help them explore opportunities for strengthening UK-US collaboration via other routes

For Science Bridges with China, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in China has agreed to work with RCUK in the selection process and in seeking to leverage resources for the Chinese partner institutions.

Research Councils UK

The seven Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded by the Science and Research Budget through the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). They are incorporated by Royal Charter and together manage a research budget of around £3 billion a year.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the partnership between the UK's seven Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils work together to champion the research, training and innovation they support.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

· Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
· Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
· Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
· Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
· Medical Research Council (MRC);
· Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
· Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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