Big boost for UK research into clean technology

The British science sector has been injected with millions of pounds in an attempt to boost research into areas such as clean energy production, medical research and nanotechnology.

Lord Sainsbury announced the Government’s decision to provide £147.5 million in funding for two major research centres in a bid to help scientists achieve breakthroughs in providing the UK with cleaner, better technologies.

“World class research is of key importance for UK prosperity and creates technologies that benefit us all,” Lord Sainsbury said. “These new world-class scientific facilities will enable scientists and engineers to make exciting discoveries.”

He added that the research at these centres will be fundamental to the development of science, whether creating new drugs or trying to understand the origins of our planet.

In another boost to the science sector, Energy Minister Mike O’Brien has also stated this week that some researchers from the UK will be sent to a leading US Hydrogen laboratory as part of the US/UK Energy Dialogue agenda, formed by Tony Blair and George Bush in 2002.

Technology utilising hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity and create only water as a by-product recently has been hailed as the future of clean energy by experts around the world (see related story).

A series of bursaries totalling nearly £1.5 million will be donated by the Government to pay for the UK scholars to carry out hydrogen research and development at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Echoing Tony Blair’s recent speech addressing ecological issues (see related story), Mr O’Brien reiterated that ensuring energy security and the safety of our environment were the two most important challenges faced by the UK at this time and for the future.

Hydrogen technologies offer real reductions of CO2 emissions as well as an important alternative source of fuel and energy, according to Mr O’Brien, who said it was vital to fully investigate their full potential.

“The sharing of expertise and research is fundamental to delivering a hydrogen economy and finding long-term solutions for our environmental and energy concerns,” he said.

“These scholarships, funded through the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, will prove to be of great benefit not only to the US and UK but also to the wider global area.”

By Jane Kettle

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