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Monday, 16 October, 2000, 15:53 GMT
Science projects win 26m
Daresbury BBC
Daresbury is important to the North West's science base
Nine science projects in the North West of England are to get 26m of UK Government funding.

One of the major beneficiaries will be the Cheshire-based Daresbury Laboratory, which will receive a total of 10.44m.

Daresbury was the subject of a major political row in May when ministers decided not to locate a 550m synchrotron facility at the laboratory complex and opted for a site in Oxfordshire in southern England instead.

All recipients of new funds submitted bids to the North West Science Review team, which was commissioned in March by science minister Lord Sainsbury to enhance the science base in the region.

Lord Sainsbury said the winners included projects involving genomics and imaging. During a visit to Daresbury he said: "This funding will help underpin the North West's scientific strengths. A number of other projects have been endorsed which will need to be assessed against the national priorities."

The 26m funding was welcomed by Professor Sir Martin Harris, chairman of the North West Universities.

He said: "This funding is an important first step in developing the science base at Daresbury and within the region's universities. The projects focus on the new and emerging sciences, which will be the key to medical advances and the region's economic prosperity in the 21st Century."

The nine projects earmarked for funding are:

  • University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, Umist and the University of Salford - 4.2m jointly for an analytical microscope facility
  • University of Manchester and University of Liverpool - 2.39m for BioArray innovation
  • University of Manchester, Umist and University of Liverpool - 2.01m for third-generation proteomics research
  • University of Manchester - 3m for integrated genomic and medical research
  • Umist, University of Manchester, University of Liverpool and Daresbury Laboratory - 2.14m for a microfluidic analytical and screening technology centre
  • Daresbury Laboratory, Umist, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, Astra Zeneca and Liverpool John Moores University - 2.6m for a structure genomics centre
  • University of Salford, Umist, University of Manchester, University of Lancaster - 1.7m for advanced virtual prototyping research centre
  • Institute for Functional and Molecular Imaging in the North West (comprising two consortia) - 5.7m
  • Umist, University of Liverpool and University of Manchester - 2.9m for molecular materials chemistry and processing centre.

The decision to award the next-generation synchrotron project to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire was a huge blow to staff operating the existing synchrotron at Daresbury. Many expressed fears that jobs would eventually be lost and that the science base in the region would be irreversibly damaged.

A synchrotron is a large machine which produces X-rays capable of penetrating deep into a material and revealing its structure. The information can aid scientists in the development of new drugs, new plastics and textiles, new detergents and new environmentally-friendly industrial processes.

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See also:

29 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
'Jobs risk' in science row
14 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Science facility goes south
22 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Blair reaffirms synchrotron decision
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