Image Credit: National Graphene Institute
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was invited to open the recently completed £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI) at the University of Manchester on Friday 20th March.
Mr Osbourne was accompanied by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov as he visited the institute's sophisticated cleanrooms and laboratories.
The NGI is a national centre dedicated to graphene research which will allow individuals in academia and industry to work in together on the development of futuristic graphene applications. Over 35 companies worldwide will jointly work with the University of Manchester on graphene research.
The funding for the NGI was provided by the Government, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), who contributed £38m and £23m respectively.
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.
George Osbourne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
In 2004, researchers at the University of Manchester were the first to isolate and study a one-atom thick sheet of graphene. There are several potential applications of graphene, however commercialization may be first in the electronics sector.
The NGI’s 7,825 m2, five-storey facility has advanced capabilities and equipment, making it a world-class research hub. One of the highlights of the NGI is that its clean room space is 1500m2 in size, which is the largest academic space committed to graphene research in the world.
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.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester
The NGI is an important first step in the larger vision of developing a Graphene City® in Manchester. There are plans to open a £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) in 2017 to complement the NGI, which will further enable the progress of industry-led development in graphene applications alongside academic partnership.
The Chancellor had announced in a speech the previous year about the formation of a £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials at the University of Manchester with satellite centres in Sheffield, Leeds, Oxford, Cambridge 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."