Manchester Uni's Nobel Prize-Winning Graphene Research in Funding Crisis After Brexit

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The government’s been urged to step up and fill the funding void expected to hit universities as a result of Brexit. The UK’s likely to lose its place in the EU’s Graphene Flagship research project, despite the fact the material was first discovered by a pair of Nobel prize-winning University of Manchester scientists in 2004.

The EU Graphene Flagship is Europe’s biggest ever joint research project, with a budget of €1 billion (£830 million). UoM would stand to lose £1 million per year in EU funding as a result of giving the EU the boot, though other British universities would also suffer.

Graphene, often described as a ‘wonder material’, is just one atom thick, 200 times stronger than steel and conducts electricity better than anything else we know of. It’s set to play a huge role in the future of design, with the next generations of aeroplanes and high-speed trains expected to use it. Here's how graphene is made.

“We have three researchers from the Graphene Flagship, which is a European Union project, and we’ve got two years’ funding on that that may not be renewed,” said Professor Robert Young, who leads the research project at the University of Manchester. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. I guess the government might come up with some system where EU projects are funded by the UK government rather than money from the EU. I would urge them to continue that. UK universities do quite well out of European research funding – we get €1.60 for every €1 we put in.”

The news comes as fresh Chinese investment in the National Graphene Institute, reportedly worth £2-3 million over five years, is announced. [Guardian]