The area of advanced materials, along with "robotics and autonomous systems" and grid scale energy storage, previously identified in the pre-budget statement as being key technologies by The Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the government’s ‘eight great technologies’ to drive UK growth are set to receive £85M investment for capital equipment.

David Willetts minister for Universities and science made the announcement at the recent Global Intelligent Systems conference in London. Willetts went on to say that, "For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success.”

The funding will be made available to more than 20 universities across the UK to strengthen current research activity in the areas mentioned above.

This is an exciting development for the advanced materials sector and should help a number of successful universities bidding for funding to further their research studies and potentially bring some of their ideas successfully to market. One of those universities is Bristol, and their advanced composites centre for innovation and science, which has won £3M towards their project, composites innovation: from atoms to applications.

The £3M will be spent in acquiring equipment which will be used in the characterization of various processes in moving from the atom to the application, related mechanical properties and the nanostructure of these materials in a bid to enhance their performance and application in the real world.