British Government invests in e-infrastructure

04 October 2011

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

The UK's e-infrastructure could substantially improve under Government plans to invest in innovation in this area.

Funding worth a total of £145 million is being allocated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to projects that are aimed at driving growth in this area.

It is intended to boost organizations involved in sectors that use computing technology widely, such as engineering, manufacturing and design, as well as encouraging new business investment in the country.

In addition, David Willetts, the UK's Universities and Science Minister, explained: "The investment will also be of enormous benefit to our world-class research base. It will enable universities to carry out highly sophisticated research and archive more data, keeping us at the very leading edge of science."

Money will be allocated to areas including computer power, data storage, software development, internet security and authentication and skills.

The move has been welcomed by leading industry experts, including those from technology giants Intel and IBM UK and Ireland, with Chief Executive for the latter company, Stephen Leonard, calling it a "valuable stimulus" and predicting the grants could enhance public safety, energy and transport, among other sectors.

Professor Dominic Tildesley from Unilever has worked on identifying areas of the UK's computing infrastructure that should be prioritized in the future and the Government has allocated funding for new supercomputing facilities to be established on the Daresbury Campus in Cheshire as part of its commitment to high performance computing.

A further grant to science and innovation has been unveiled by the Government in the form of £50 million in funding for a new Global Research and Technology Hub, which will increase collaboration between companies and researchers in the UK working on developing graphene.

The material - which was developed by scientists in Manchester who won a Nobel Prize for their work - is incredibly strong and an excellent conductor, offering the chance to create new ultra-thin and strong touchscreens, biomedical sensors and other applications.

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