Researchers at Manchester University have been awarded €1 billion to exploit their discovery of the “wonder material” graphene.
The £855 million prize from the European Commission is the biggest grant ever awarded for research excellence.
Manchester will receive the money over 10 years as part of the EC’s Future Emerging Technology scheme to explore the ”unique properties of a revolutionary carbon-based material.”
The Commission’s statement described graphene as “an extraordinary combination of physical and chemical properties: it is the thinnest material, it conducts electricity much better than copper, it is 100-300 times stronger than steel and it has unique optical properties.”
It added: “It is set to become the wonder material of the 21st century, as plastics were to the 20th century.”
A second major research programme known as The Human Brain Project also received a €1 billion award to help create the world’s largest experimental centre for developing the most detailed model of the brain,
Manchester Univeristy’s Russian born graphene pioneers Andre Geim, 54, and Konstantin Novoselov, 38, also received the £925,000 Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010.