New research facilities to be created, thanks to flagship scheme – UKRI


The universities of Strathclyde, Birmingham and King’s College London will create four leading research facilities with the help of a £52 million investment from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).

The new facilities will build on the universities’ track record of excellent research capability.

UKRPIF is a flagship scheme managed by UK Research and Innovation.

Infrastructure projects

The infrastructure projects funded include:

  • a life sciences lab that will transform the development, manufacture and supply of medicines
  • two railway centres of excellence that will lead to a more efficient and productive railway
  • a mental health facility for young people that will make a transformative leap forward in research in this field

The projects have all leveraged double-match funding to the tune of £113 million from industry partners, charitable organisations, and philanthropic donors.

These include:

  • GSK
  • Cancer Research UK
  • AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer
  • Siemens
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

World-leading research and impact

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair at Research England, said:

I am really excited to be able to make these latest awards to three exciting and innovative infrastructure projects in locations across the UK.

This is the seventh round of the hugely successful UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, which has provided over £900 million of Government investment and leveraged over £2 billion of co-investment through the scheme since 2012.

The breadth of these state-of-the-art capital investments, ranging from developing transformative mental health strategies for children and young people to creating innovative railway technologies and revolutionising how medicines are manufactured, highlights the variety of world-leading research and impact enabled by UKRPIF.

We believe the strategic partnerships between these universities, domestic and global companies, charities, and philanthropic organisations will enable the universities and their partners to develop ambitious solutions to some of today’s biggest research challenges.

Revolutionising medicines

CMAC Data Lab, a world-leading centre for medicines manufacturing research, skills, technology and translation, led by the University of Strathclyde, will revolutionise the way medicines are designed, developed, manufactured and regulated.

For decades, pharmaceutical firms have manufactured their products in batches.

It’s a tried and tested method to produce drugs, but it can be slow and inefficient.

Continuous manufacturing technologies

To streamline production, manufacturers have begun to apply continuous manufacturing technologies to the pharmaceutical production process.

Continuous production removes built-in production gaps and can shorten manufacturing times from months to days.

CMAC Data Lab will enhance productivity, accelerate development and scale-up for new patient-centric products, and develop more sustainable and resilient processes, as well as create a unique environment to train the future workforce.

And it’ll do this by making use of artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things.

Efficient and productive railways

The Centre of Excellence for Railway Testing, Validation and Customer Experience in South Wales and The Centre of Excellence for Railway Through-Life Engineering in Goole will support a more efficient and productive railway.

The University of Birmingham will lead the creation of these centres.

The centres will help the UK’s rail industry develop the capability to create and deploy new innovations while developing clusters of industry activity.

The activities will support significant reductions in whole-lifecycle costs, supporting a more efficient and productive railway.

Transformative mental health research

The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People, led by King’s, aims to make a transformative leap forward in research in childhood mental health.

Mental health disorders affect one in six children and young people and represent one of society’s most pressing challenges.

With three-quarters of adult mental health disorders starting in childhood, the effects of this problem reach into all aspects of society: individual wellbeing, families, communities, and economic productivity.

UKRPIF funding will help King’s develop a major upgrade in research capabilities, by providing cutting-edge clinical research equipment alongside a dedicated research collaboration hub, facilitating collaboration with all sectors across the UK.

UKRPIF funding

The University of Strathclyde has been awarded £11 million, the University of Birmingham £30 million, and King’s £11 million from tranche one of round seven of the UKRPIF.

The projects started in June 2023 and funding will run until March 2025.

A further £48 million of UKRPIF funding is due to be allocated from tranche two of round seven within the next year.

Top image:  Credit: onurdongel, E+ via Getty Images

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