Business secretary Vince Cable has announced research projects exploring the use of light in innovative manufacturing processes and technologies will receive £3.6 million funding.
The funding from The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) was announced by Dr Cable during a tour of laser development company M Squared in Glasgow.
It is to be used to fund a number of 18-month feasibility studies aiming to advance core science towards manufacturing across sectors including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics and security.
Dr Cable said the funding will support growth within the UK’s growing manufacturing sector across 14 different projects at universities.
“This new funding will develop research to support the UK’s growing manufacturing sector which already employs around 2.5 million people. This early stage research will give businesses such as M Squared a great opportunity to develop new technologies to create more effective and efficient manufacturing processes,” he said.
He added: “The Government’s industrial strategy is giving business the confidence to invest, delivering skilled jobs and driving growth in Scotland and across the UK. We must not stand still and risk being left behind in the future.”
Examples of the 14 projects include investigations into laser-guided positioning of living cells to aid pharmaceutical testing and using novel photochemistry to take chemical processes from the laboratory to commercial plants.
David Delpy, chief executive of the EPSRC, said: “These projects demonstrate how research into the fundamental science and engineering of optical phenomena can have a significant impact in manufacturing and also shows how well the UK academic base works with industry to enable the UK to benefit from fundamental discoveries.”