Research matters: Fifty years at the cutting edge of technical progress

The Daresbury lab shows why science and enterprise are vital UK partners

This month the Daresbury Laboratory in the North-west of England celebrates its 50th anniversary as one of Europe's largest technical research facilities. Daresbury is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and provides enormously complex, costly and highly specialised equipment for the nation's scientists.

Over the last five years, the facility has supported ground-breaking science in areas as diverse as medical applications and climate change. Daresbury's clients include the antimicrobial technology firm Byotrol, which relocated its R&D division from Germany to Daresbury's Innovations Technology Access Centre in 2009 to develop its revolutionary hygiene technology for combating the spread of viruses and superbugs. The company has now expanded further onto the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, an Enterprise Zone, to focus its commercial activities on securing major contracts.

The UK must continue to provide shared, world-class facilities such as those at Daresbury to ensure that our researchers remain at the cutting edge of international research. In this year's budget, it was announced that a further £100m of research capital will be invested in UK universities themselves, which have seen recent reductions in capital budgets. A criterion of the new initiative is that any funding from the public purse must be doubled by investment from private companies. Not only will new facilities be built, but the relationships generated by the new scheme should establish further opportunities for the co-development of research.

The new initiative will complement the many successful partnerships between universities and business and industry in the UK today. For example, an independent anti-doping facility for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games will be run by GlaxoSmithKline and King's College London. This Olympic initiative is one of many that will be highlighted during Universities Week 2012, which runs from 30 April to 7 May showcasing the many ways in which our universities are contributing to the 2012 Games.

We at the Research Councils work hard to encourage private sector investment in research to complement and enhance the core of essential public funding. In around 20 per cent of cases this takes the form of joint funding for PhD projects, whereby a commercial partner matches the investment made by a Research Council to fund a student. The benefits to business and industry are that the schemes offer access to talented people and to new research which – for small or medium sized organisations in particular – is not always easily obtainable. In turn, researchers benefit from partnerships that often continue long after the funding arrangement has ended and can result in the commercial application of their work.

Research Council partnerships encourage investment from the private, public and third sectors to help expand research in all disciplines. We do this by working with key partners to produce mutually advantageous links. Researchers gain new insights into development opportunities, and accessing cutting-edge research helps UK business remain internationally competitive. For example, the Arts and Humanities Research Council is investing in four new "knowledge exchange hubs for the creative economy" that will establish new partnerships across the UK's growing creative economy. The aim of the hubs is to increase knowledge exchange between arts and humanities researchers and private and public sector organisations alike.

To maximise the long-term impact of research on the UK economy, its relationship with commercial and other public organisations must continue to develop. The more closely researchers work with other sectors of the economy, the better they will be able to support future growth.

More information about Research Councils UK is available at

Suggested Topics
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Science Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Sc...


£120 - £131 per day: Randstad Education Group: The role will involve teaching...

Drama & Media Studies Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Dr...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice