Researchers at the University of Glasgow are developing tactile skin for robots

�13m for robots drones and advanced materials

Ten UK universities will share £13m of funding to support research in advanced materials, robotic and autonomous systems and synthetic biology.

The funding, announced by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts will go towards grants and fellowships for UK researchers

“These Fellowships will keep the UK ahead in fields identified as part of the 8 Great Technologies with the potential to propel UK growth,” said David Willetts.

“We champion and support our leading academics in these areas to realise our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to do and apply science.”

The fellowship awards range between £804,000 and £1,250,000 and will fund work over a five year period.

Advanced Materials projects include work exploring how semi-conducting materials can be used in electronic devices like mobile phones without the need to cool them to very low temperatures, and research that uses imaging techniques to understand how metals behave during solidification and casting.

In robotics, researchers at the University of Glasgow will develop tactile synthetic skin that can be printed and used with robots to work in healthcare.

Synthetic Biology projects include work investigating how to apply control engineering techniques - like those we use every day in thermostats, cars, planes - to biologically based parts such as cells. As well as other projects investigating: the creation of programmable functional biomaterials e.g. fabrics that are capable of self-cleaning, and developing methods for renewable energy.

Professor Philip Nelson EPSRC’s Chief Executive said: “To provide opportunities for growth, both scientific and economic, it is vital that the UK has a steady supply of academic talent in the physical sciences and engineering. To do this we must support academics throughout their careers. These Fellowships will mean we are retaining the leaders we need to maintain our position in Synthetic Biology, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Advanced Materials.”

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