8 December 1999
For immediate release
Scientists at the University of Sussex have been awarded millions of pounds from the Joint Infrastructure Fund to refurbish laboratories on the University’s Falmer campus. Two projects received money as part of the biggest investment in university science infrastructure for 40 years, announced yesterday (7 December) by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers and the Wellcome Trust.
Only 45 grants were approved from a total of 214 applications. Dr Robert Howells, Director of Science Programmes at the Wellcome Trust, said: "The scientific standard of the applications was high and competition for funding intense, so it has been possible to fund only those bids of the most outstanding quality."
Up to £3.7 million will be used to create, by refurbishment, a flexible and modern laboratory environment for the study of neuroscience. It will involve integrating groups who are currently located separately in the School of Biological Sciences at the University, with a view to maximising interaction at the interfaces between key areas of neuroscience.
The refurbished laboratories will provide accommodation for three major areas of research:
- computational and evolutionary neuroscience (combining two internationally recognised centres of excellence - the Centre for the Study of Evolution and the Centre for Computational Science and Robotics)
- synaptic plasticity and behaviour
- sensory mechanisms and attention, building on research strengths at Sussex in vision and hearing.
Welcoming news of the award, Professor Mike Land said: "This refurbishment will provide an infrastructure that is specifically engineered to promote interaction, collaboration and interdisciplinarity, with sufficient flexible space for growth and new initiatives."
The funding partners in the Joint Infrastructure Fund have also supported a bid for £1.7 million to establish a Centre for the Measurement of Particle Electric Dipole Moments at the University of Sussex. It will bring together two groups of researchers at the Falmer campus, who work on experimental particle physics and on optical and atomic physics. These two groups share a strong common interest in non-accelerator based particle physics and, according to the University’s Professor Ed Hinds, constitute probably the strongest group in the world working on particle electric dipole moments.
Professor Hinds said: "We plan to use this money to renovate our laboratories and electronics workshops. We also plan to modernise our optical , electronic and mechanical equipment, and to build new facilities. These improvements in technical infrastructure will promote a broad, coherent programme of non-accelerator based particle physics at Sussex using the full range of modern techniques."