Developing the science behind the everyday

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 in News| Share this article
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Researchers at the University of Sheffield have received £2million to invest in a research centre which will help develop cutting edge technology from personal care products to the next generation of medical supplies.

The Molecular Engineering Translational Research Centre (METRC), funded by the N8 Research Partnership, will combine the research strength of the N8 group of universities to explore molecular engineering and nanotechnology to develop new products. The investment comes from a grant awarded to N8 from the Northern Way Growth Fund.

By combining world-class research expertise from the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, the new Centre will help move technology past the concept phase to highly functional products for use in everyday life.

The centre, which is led by Professor Tony Ryan OBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Pure Science at the University of Sheffield, will collaborate with businesses in the North and internationally, to share knowledge to develop new products, processes and services to help them innovate faster and take a larger share of rapidly-changing global markets.

Researchers at the centre will focus on a number of market sectors, including home and personal care, medicine and healthcare, and energy. Developments could include sensors and implants providing healthcare through human-device interfaces, easier interaction between humans and IT, and smart homes and fabrics.

Professor Tony Ryan said: “The fundamental objective of METRC is to stimulate economic growth. The old corporate research labs have gone and we’d like to create space where industrial and academic scientists can work alongside each other to turn cutting edge University research into exciting new products and processes for UK and global companies. Molecular engineering underpins a wealth of existing and new products – from soap to solar cells. Our business is in the science of everyday things.”

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and Chair of the Board of N8, added: “The N8 universities undertake more than £720m of research and employ over 8,200 academic staff. N8 is the largest ‘research pooling’ partnership ever undertaken in the UK and represents a unique combination of complementary research strengths and capacity which is of proven world-leading quality. Our aim is to maximise the impact of our research capabilities on the reputational and economic standing of the North and the UK, and the development of this Research Centre with financial assistance from the Northern Way is a significant step towards achieving this.”

Please visit the METRC website for more information: