Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has officially opened the £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI) at The University of Manchester.
The Chancellor visited the recently completed institute today (Friday 20 March) and toured its state-of-the-art cleanrooms and laboratories with Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov.
The NGI is the national centre for graphene research and will enable academics and industry to work side-by-side on the graphene applications of the future.
More than 35 companies from across the world have already chosen to partner with The University of Manchester working on graphene-related projects.
The Government provided £38m for the construction of the Institute via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with the remaining £23m provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
This state-of-the-art institute is an incredible asset, not only to this University and to Manchester but also to the UK. The National Graphene Institute is fundamental to continuing the world-class graphene research which was started in Manchester.
Mr Osborne said: “Backing science and innovation is a key part of building a Northern Powerhouse. The new National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester will bring together leading academics, scientists and business leaders to help develop the applications of tomorrow, putting the UK in pole position to lead the world in graphene technology.”
One-atom thick graphene was first isolated and explored in 2004 at The University of Manchester. Its potential uses are vast but one of the first areas in which products are likely to be seen is in electronics.
The 7,825 square metre, five-storey building features cutting-edge facilities and equipment throughout to create a world-class research hub. The NGI’s 1,500 square metres of clean room space is the largest academic space of its kind in the world for dedicated graphene research.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “The National Graphene Institute will be the world’s leading centre of graphene research and commercialisation.
“It will be the home of graphene scientists and engineers from across The University of Manchester working in collaboration with colleagues from many other universities and from some of the world’s leading companies.
“This state-of-the-art institute is an incredible asset, not only to this University and to Manchester but also to the UK. The National Graphene Institute is fundamental to continuing the world-class graphene research which was started in Manchester.”
The NGI is a significant first step in the vision to create a Graphene City® in Manchester. Set to open in 2017 the £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) will complement the NGI and initiate further industry-led development in graphene applications with academic collaboration.
Last year the Chancellor also announced the creation of the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials at The University of Manchester with satellite centres in Sheffield, Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford and London.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Professor Colin Bailey, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “The opening of the National Graphene Institute today, complemented by the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre opening in 2017 and the future Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, will provide the UK with the facilities required to accelerate new materials to market.
“It will allow the UK to lead the way in the area which underpins all manufacturing sectors, resulting in significant inward investment, the stick-ability of innovation, and significant long-term job creation."
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