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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
14m for uni research partnership
A 14m research alliance between the South West's universities and higher education colleges has been announced.

The Great Western Research Project will look at areas considered to be of vital economic importance to the region.

The money will fund 145 new posts in areas ranging from nanotechnology to sustainable development.

The partnership will be led by Exeter University and includes Bristol and Bath universities and 10 other higher education institutions.

'Pooling strengths'

Funding for the project comes from the South West of England Regional Development Agency (South West RDA), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), businesses and the universities themselves.

Professor Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University, said: "We believe we can do a much better job for the region if we pool our strengths and develop joint projects.

"This is turn will enable the region's businesses to be a step ahead of the competition."

Professor Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, added: "This radical strengthening of regional alliances will broaden and deepen the academic experience for staff and students across a range of key disciplines."

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