Calls for Batteries Research Institute and research projects open

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EPSRC today opened calls for proposals to establish a virtual institute for batteries research and associated research into battery development.

EPSRC is inviting submissions of proposals from UK university consortia to establish an internationally-recognised virtual institute to lead in research, education and knowledge transfer in line with the Industrial Strategy Faraday Challenge 'Batteries for Britain'.

The call for the research projects covers four 'Fast Start' project research areas identified as the capability cornerstones for the Research Institute. This involves an initial expression of interest phase, where interested academic researchers can provide details of their expertise and identify the interests they have in each of the 'Fast Start' project areas, followed by a full proposal which will be scoped and defined through collaboration with the Research Institute.

These calls have opened to coincide with a speech by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, during a visit to the EPSRC-funded Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage.

The core consortia members must have attended the briefing meeting which took place in London on 12 July 2017, but this does not restrict subsequent university partners from joining the consortia prior to final proposal submission.

The new institute will form part of the 'Faraday Challenge' to develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles - £246 million over four years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy. The challenge will be split into three elements: research, innovation, and scale-up. It is among the first of six investment areas announced by the government to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This funding is unique as it covers the complete innovation pipeline from fundamental research (EPSRC) to translation technologies (InnovateUK) and scale-up activities (Advance Propulsion Centre). As part of this wave of funding £78 million will be administered through EPSRC to include the formation of the institute and to kick start the first tranche of research activities.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said: Batteries will form a cornerstone of a low carbon economy, whether in cars, aircraft, trains, consumer electronics, district or grid storage. To deliver the UK's low carbon economy we must consolidate and grow our capabilities in novel battery technology. EPSRC's previous research investments mean we are in a world-leading position.

The Faraday Challenge is a new way of working. It will bring together the best minds in the field, draw on others from different disciplines, and link intimately with industry, innovators and other funders, such as InnovateUK, to ensure we maintain our world leading position and keep the pipeline of fundamental science to innovation flowing.

Notes for Editors:

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF)

The ISCF builds on the UK's world-class research base and delivers the science that business needs to transform existing industries and create new ones. It accelerates commercial exploitation of the most exciting technologies the UK has to offer the world to ensure that scientific investment truly delivers economic impact, jobs and growth right across the country. The ISCF is delivered by InnovateUK and Research Councils UK (RCUK), and eventually UK Research and Innovation, the single voice for the UK's research and innovation landscape.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 47-17