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Support for UK science gives Harwell a boost

Harwell Campus, Oxford’s world-leading innovation centre, welcomes the Prime Minister’s support for UK scientific research and development

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced an extra £2bn annual fund to support UK science R&D, “putting post-Brexit Britain at the cutting edge of science and tech”.

The announcement represents a vote of confidence in the activity taking place at Harwell. Angus Horner, Director of Harwell Campus Management, said ‘The Prime Minister’s support for science will magnify the economic contribution made by the UK’s corporates, universities and places of innovation. Residents of Harwell are extremely pleased with these results.’

Horner continued: “The economic contribution made by the science sector is now being recognised in full, and this latest fund will turbo charge a sector that is growing all the more important in our post-industrial society.’

Some of the measures in the speech included promises to help more British start-up companies through the development stage. This commitment could benefit the ESA Business Incubation Centre at Harwell, run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The Centre already helps to turn research-led discoveries into commercial success and business growth.

The Prime Minister also used the speech to announce an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which will be managed by UK Innovation and Research. The PM said that this was about ‘addressing Britain’s historic weakness on commercialisation and turning our world-leading research into long-term success.’

In response, Horner said that the Fund ‘will enable the UK’s cutting edge scientific research to thrive, and allow us to maintain our position leading the world in science.’

The news from the PM came as the CBI published data showing that seven in ten UK businesses intended to maintain spending on innovation following Brexit. This is a welcome sign, suggesting that the activity at Harwell will be able to continue in future.

More good news for Harwell came earlier in the month, with support for science research coming from India. The country’s Department of Science and Technology announced a £2million investment in the ISIS muon and neutron facility, which will benefit materials science research taking place around the UK.

Horner further took the opportunity to highlight new facilities that will enhance Harwell’s research capabilities in the near future. ‘The ChipIR facility, soon to be finished and unique outside the US, will further enhance our research capabilities, granting the UK’s scientific community new insights into silicon microchips.’