A £25 million research centre at the University of Cambridge will join the race to commercialise "wonder material" graphene.
Last week E&T Magazine reported that a £61m graphene research institute, part-funded by the Government, would be built at The University of Manchester creating about 100 jobs.
And now Cambridge has announced plans to create The Cambridge Graphene Centre, which will start work next month with a dedicated facility due to open at the end of the year.
Graphene – an incredibly strong one-atom thick layer of graphite with excellent conductivity – was isolated for the first time at The University of Manchester by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov in 2004.
The material has the potential to revolutionise technology from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips and the Cambridge centre’s objective is to bridge the gap between academia and industry, the university said.
Vice-chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said: "Graphene's potential is beyond doubt, but much more research is needed if we are to develop it to a point where it proves of benefit to society as a whole.
"The pioneering work of Cambridge engineers and scientists in fields such as carbonnanotechnology and flexible electronics, coupled with our record working with industry and launching spin-out firms based on our research, means that we are in a unique position to take graphene to that next level."
Work will focus on producing graphene on an industrial scale and the centre’s first job will be to find ways of manufacturing and optimising graphene films, dispersions and inks.
Professor Andrea Ferrari, who will be the centre's director, said: "We are targeting applications and manufacturing processes, and broadening research to other two-dimensional materials and hybrid systems.
“The integration of these new materials could bring a new dimension to future technologies, creating faster, thinner, stronger, more flexible broadband devices."
Funded with a £12 million Government grant and £13 million from industry, the centre will also be a shared research facility with state-of-the-art equipment, which any scientist researching graphene will have the opportunity to use.