Initial seed corn funding for the Mersey Basin project (AI-Enabled Materials Chemistry) by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund

Initial seed corn funding for the Mersey Basin project (AI-Enabled Materials Chemistry) by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund

(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON, 22-Mar-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — The Mersey Basin project has just won £50,000 seed funding, which is meant to help prepare the full bid, which, if successful, could deliver up to £50 million investment in the North West. The funding is provided from UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund, which is part of the Industrial Strategy of the UK Government. The Mersey Basin project is expected to submit its final bid in late 2019.

The STFC Laboratories-led bid will drive AI-Enabled Materials Chemistry across the Mersey Basin by using AI tools for digital design and processing of real materials for the benefit of industries and their supply chains.

Leading universities and institutions have joined forced in the project such as Hartree Centre at Daresbury, the University of Liverpool, IBM Research, the Henry Royce Institute, the University of Manchester and the Alan Turing Institute.

The Mersey Basin aims at improving productivity and jobs growth in North West. The Mersey Basin project covers the M56/M62 corridor, stretching from the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire & Warrington through to Manchester. The entire region has a significant number of SMEs and high concentration of materials-based companies.

Overall productivity in the North West has been identified to be lower than the national average, and local supply chains are found under-developed despite the fact that world-class facilities for new materials, digital manufacturing, high performance computing and artificial intelligence are based there.

Alison Kennedy, the lead for the bid and Director of the Hartree Centre at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Daresbury Laboratory:

“The Mersey Basin project wants to link these assets in a better way, to help companies improve the use of new techniques to boost productivity and create jobs. The initial seed corn funding announced today will be used to further map and engage companies in the targeted industry sectors, to identify what specific innovation-led interventions would most effectively meet their future business growth needs.”

According to Alison Kennedy the Mersey Basin project will rely on artificial intelligence to improve both the design and production process of highly complex materials.

The main focus will be on five materials sub-sectors:

  • sustainable solutions in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and packaging;  smart coatings and sensors;
  • energy;
  • medicines and biofilms;
  • advanced manufacturing.

Other projects funded by the UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund include: CS Connected, Decarbonisation of Maritime Transportation – a Return to Commercial Sailing, Accelerating the 4th industrial revolution across Scotland’s Central Belt, Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus, Global Centre of Excellence in Open Banking (COB), The Living Lab: driving economic growth in Glasgow through real world implementation of precision medicine, Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CESAM), Establishing the UK Hydrogen Corridor, North East Cluster for Healthy Ageing and Independent Living (NE-CHAIN), Delivering Integrated Solutions for Human Infections, among others.

Detailed information for the 24 projects that got funded by Strength in Places can be found on the following page:

SOURCE: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)


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