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UKRI invests £88m to upgrade research laboratories

Funding provided for ‘Covid-safe upgrades’, including changes to layout and equipment

UK Research and Innovation has announced an £88 million investment to modernise and expand research laboratories and facilities.

The funding, which will be allocated via Research England and the devolved funding bodies, is part of a £300m investment in research infrastructure announced by business secretary Alok Sharma in July.

It includes £50m for England, £8.4m for Scotland, £1.7m for Wales and £0.9m for Northern Ireland, which will be used to pay for “Covid-safe upgrades” such as changing layouts and equipment to move workstations further apart, installing screens and improving air-handling and filtering systems.

Meanwhile, £15m has been earmarked to support facilities that enable regional economic growth, and the remaining £12m is for maintenance and refurbishments of existing infrastructure through Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Launched in 2012, the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund aims to enhance university research facilities and encourage partnerships between institutions and other organisations active in research across the UK.

“The UK’s research and innovation system needs state-of-the-art facilities to support researchers in pushing at the frontiers of knowledge and tackling global challenges,” said David Sweeney, executive chair of Research England.

“Bringing together diverse teams with a range of skills, these facilities enable world-leading research and the benefits that brings to the economy and society.”