UK researchers to transcend departmental divisions

The fourth of 13 collaborative research networks (CRNs) at Birmingham University, UK, will be launched in early summer 2005. The CRN for molecules and materials will encompass research from Birmingham’s science, engineering, maths and computing, and medical departments. The materials and molecules network will complement a similar network in nanotechnology launched in March 2005.

The CRNs bring together key research areas and groups from the university. Mike Adams, professor of chemical engineering, has recently been appointed as academic champion for the new CRN, which will cover a wide range of topics including biomaterials, superconductors and magnetic materials.

The 13 research areas being developed as CRNs were identified in the university’s strategy and development plan and aim to promote collaborative links within the university. The CRN in nanotechnology focuses on nanoscience, micro- and nanofabrication, and micro- and nanoparticles.

The network will cover work from around 300 researchers who are backed by more than ?10 million of research grants from the EPSRC, as well as other funding.

Jon Preece, professor of chemistry and academic champion for the CRN in nano-technology says the networks ’foster research at Birmingham’ and are ’a way of hooking people up and spreading the word’.

Once established, all the networks will have individual websites that provide up-to-date information for external partners within both industry and academia. Events will also help promote interactions and get people talking. A research gala on 5-6 October will highlight each of the 13 networks. The event will be a chance for each of the networks to interact and will be open to the public.

’There are a lot of opportunities and initiatives in science and engineering at the university,’ says Preece. The university is also looking to introduce a range of nanotechnology programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and continued professional development levels as part of its development strategy.

Vikki Allen

Link icon Colloborative Research Networks

Colloborative Research Networks