Manchester to host scientific equipment research centre

A £64 million scientific research and development centre is to be established by oil company BP at the University of Manchester.

The BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) will be located within the university’s esteemed Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and will have a 10-year investment programme focused on research into advanced materials.

Manchester will stand as the hub for the research centre, but it will also establish operations – or ‘spokes’ – at the three world-class research universities of the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

BP’s chief scientist, Ellen Williams, said that the materials that will be worked on at the centre will have a range of scientific applications, but will largely be focused on the scientific materials needed for energy production.

“We’re very excited by the vision of taking advanced tools that were developed for fundamental research to the real-world application of materials used for energy production,” she said. “Our engagement with these four Universities demonstrates the importance both of research and of the innovation which can lead to advanced technologies.”

The seven primary areas of direct interest to industry will be structural materials, smart coatings, functional materials, catalysis, membranes, energy storage and energy harvesting.

The centre will also support more than 200 new jobs.

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