Budget 2014: More funds for graphene

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced further investment in the development of graphene with a £74m pot to establish new research centres.

The funds will be available over five years for what the Chancellor described as 'catapult centres', to provide SMEs with access to modern facilities and equipment in order to boost research into new technologies.

George Osborne said: "We will establish new centres for doctoral training, for cell therapy and for graphene – a great British discovery that we should break the habit of a lifetime with and commercially develop in Britain."

It was not yet clear whether or how the funding will directly impact on the £61m National Graphene Institute currently under construction on Oxford Road in Manchester, or whether it will lead to further centres being established in the North West.

Prof Colin Bailey, vice-president and dean of the University of Manchester, said: "We are engaging across the UK to commercialise graphene and to utilise the world-class knowledge base here at The University of Manchester. We are developing an infrastructure at the university which links in with the existing catapult centres to ensure efficient commercialisation of graphene to accelerate applications to market. The announcement is welcome support from the government."

Graphene was first isolated at Manchester University by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov in 2004, earning them the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010. The material is 200 times stronger than steel and just one atom thick – making it the strongest, thinnest and most conductive material ever measured.

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