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Manchester to Host U.K. Graphene Research Institute

Graphene molecular illustration (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Graphene molecular illustration (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the U.K. confirmed today that University of Manchester will host the U.K.’s national graphene institute, a facility for graphene research and commercialization activities planned for use by both scientists and businesses. University of Manchester is the home of Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov, who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for their work demonstrating the properties of graphene.

Graphene is a good conductor of electricity and among the strongest and thinnest materials ever measured. Its potential uses include composite materials, flexible touchscreens, pollution sensors, and biomedical sensors. In October 2011, the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced an allocation of £50 million ($79.3 million) to establish a global R&D hub for graphene in the U.K.

EPSRC says University of Manchester will be asked to submit a proposal for the £45 million institute, of which £38 million will be provided by the U.K. government. The institute is expected to offer access to specialist facilities and equipment that enable the simulation of manufacturing processes.

The plan announced today also includes £12 million in government funds for research equipment related to graphene, and £10 million from EPSRC for graphene engineering research for development of new devices, technologies, and systems. The plan includes as well a £10 million innovation center funded by EPSRC and the Technology Strategy Board, with ongoing support expected from the business community.

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