Strathclyde-based chemical manufacturing research centre receives £34.2m boost
6 June 2013
The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) in Strathclyde has received an £11.4 million cash injection from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), supported with £22.8 million industry and charity contributions.
Professor Alastair Florence, Director of CMAC, said: "This substantial investment will further develop and enhance the leading facilities supporting our cutting-edge manufacturing research programme. In strengthening the national Centre's capabilities, the state-of-the-art facilities will not only benefit researchers at Strathclyde but the wider UK academic and industrial community. Our shared aim is to shorten the time required to take drugs to market, to improve quality and to reduce manufacturing costs.
"For centuries, many chemical products — including medicines — have been manufactured using traditional processes, whereby they are produced in large batches and stored in expensive warehouses. We are leading a revolution in the way such medicines will in future be produced by pharmaceutical firms — and the potential benefits of the Centre's work are enormous. Allowing drug companies to tailor medicine production to reflect patients' demands reduces the need for firms to stockpile supplies — meaning they can make significant savings and reinvest in the research and development of new treatments."
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, welcomed today's announcement of the £11.4 million award, made by HEFCE under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF). He said: "Strathclyde is leading an international technological collaboration with global firms including GSK, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK. This national facility is an excellent example of Strathclyde's ability to deliver innovation by working creatively with industry and our academic partners at the Universities of Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, and Loughborough.
"The Centre's internationally-leading research team are working pre-competitively to establish a world-class facility to accelerate innovative technology delivery and establish new supply chains for medicines. The funding award announced by HEFCE today will further strengthen the contribution of CMAC to economic growth, and will maximise its impact on the international competitiveness of a vital UK manufacturing sector."
In addition to Strathclyde's award, HEFCE announced funding for four other projects involving the University of Cambridge, University College London, the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield.
Craig Johnston, CMAC Industry Director, added: "I look forward to deepening and broadening engagement with industrial partners, from multi-national pharmaceutical companies to small and medium-sized enterprises."
Dr Clive Badman, OBE, Vice President, Investigational Materials Supply at GSK – and Chair of the CMAC Industry Board – said: "CMAC's growth and achievements over the past two years have been exceptional. Securing substantial funds for equipment will enable us to accelerate our delivery on continuous manufacturing and crystallisation. The overall CMAC business plan is now set to achieve £100 million by 2020."
In addition to investment from GSK, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK, support has also been received from other eight other innovative businesses. And on top of more than £13 million from EPSRC, CMAC has also benefitted from funding from the Scottish Funding Council, the UK Technology Strategy Board and the European Union.
CMAC will be a key tenant in Strathclyde's new £89 million Technology Innovation Centre, where leading researchers from academia and industry will work side-by-side, with access to state-of-the-art facilities. It aims to transform the way universities, business and industry collaborate to find solutions to global challenges, create jobs and support the economy.
Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: "These five projects highlight yet again the success that UK universities have in working with commercial partners and charities to raise funds and deliver vital initiatives to stimulate research in critical areas vital to the economy. In challenging times, the higher education sector consistently demonstrates its key role in delivering growth."
For more information on CMAC, visit www.cmac.ac.uk
Further comment from ministers:
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said, “The spending review is about making choices, and for me science is a personal priority. By bringing together our Nobel Prize winning scientists, our world-class companies and our entrepreneurial start-ups, we can drive innovation and create the economic dynamism Britain needs to win in the global race.
"We are making difficult decisions on things like welfare so that we can invest in areas like science. And today, I can announce five new projects through our £300 million UKRPIF, using public money to secure private investment so our world-class science also delivers jobs and growth.”
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The UK's world-class universities are at the forefront of our economic recovery. It's vital we do everything we can to encourage collaboration with the private sector and boost funding for research. These excellent projects will not only deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, but will accelerate growth and foster innovation between the research base and business, keeping the UK ahead in the global race.
"Our £300 million investment has secured over £855 million from business and charities – a total investment of £1.15 billion. This is an extraordinary result, far exceeding the required private to public funding ratio of two to one."