A new £235m advanced materials research centre named after the co-founder of Rolls-Royce will be led by the University of Manchester with Government backing.
Chancellor George Osborne said in the Autumn Statement that the Sir Henry Royce Institute will be based at the university "with satellite centres at Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College. The institute will drive collaborations between academia and industry, to commercialise the UK's world-leading research in this field."
The nuclear materials component of the centre, one of 14 such components, will be supported by facilities at the National Nuclear Laboratory in Cumbria and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. The founding partners' facilities will be enhanced to a value of £132m.
Welcoming the announcement, the University of Manchester's president and vice-chancellor, Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: "This considerable investment in UK science – the largest single funding agreement in our University's history – is testament to the outstanding research in advanced materials carried out in Manchester and at the new Institute's partner organisations."
Prof Colin Bailey, vice-president and dean of the University of Manchester's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: "The UK has a world-leading research base in advanced materials, which is essential to the long-term wellbeing and growth of all industrial sectors.
"The new Institute, supported by our industrial and academic partners, will provide the opportunity for the UK to stay ahead in this vital area of research and innovation to ensure growth in the national economy, as well as addressing the many global challenges facing society."
In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne said: "A few months ago there were no proposals for major scientific institutions in the North of England. Today we commit a massive quarter of a billion pound investment in a new Sir Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials science in Manchester, with branches in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield."
Manchester City Council leader Cllr Sir Richard Leese said: "This is a momentous announcement for Manchester and the UK, which underlines the University of Manchester's world-class credentials and adds significant momentum to the city's major role at the leading edge of global advanced material research. It's something for which we have long campaigned. The potential for the applications of such materials is vast and they will play a major part in realising the economic potential of Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North as a whole."
Rowena Burns, chief executive of Manchester Science Partnerships, whose shareholders include developer Bruntwood and the university, said: "This city is flying – powered by the quality of our universities, the vision of our civic leaders, and our shared belief in the power of partnership. For MSP, the announcement of the £200m research and innovation centre for advanced materials or 'Crick of the North' is another brilliant opportunity to support jobs and enterprise through innovation and shared purpose."
Abid Jaffry, head of office of national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton in Manchester, said: "This is further acknowledgement of the importance that the city will play in the development of key scientific projects coupled with an improving infrastructure programme. LSH has already been involved in some very exciting opportunities most recently for Waters Corporation, and the level of investment and growth will be exponential in comparison.
"Whilst Manchester will act as the nucleus of expertise, the benefit to the wider regional towns and cities cannot be underestimated and this is an indictment of the commitment the region has previously demonstrated on a smaller scale. We look forward to the devolution from central government having a very positive affect on the local economies."
Royce met Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in 1904 and they set up their business together two years later.
Details of where the Sir Henry Royce Institute will be based are yet to be revealed.