The British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced plans to make £22m ($35.9m) of investment available to UK universities that are exploring ways to commercialise graphene. Cambridge University will receive in excess of £12m ($19.6m) to develop advanced, flexible, and light-based electronics which would herald the next generation of touchscreens and displays. Imperial College London will also benefit from the fund, and will gain £4.5m ($7.34) for utilising graphene to improve aircraft components. Royal Holloway, Exeter, Manchester and Durham universities will also receive investment. Graphene, originally isolated in Nobel Prize-winning research at the University of Manchester, is an atom-thick sheet of carbon molecules that possesses unrivalled electronic and physical properties. The material can conduct electricity a million times more efficiently than copper, and is more transparent, stronger, and flexible than other conductors. It is the second round of graphene-related funding provided by the UK Government. The first round, worth £50m ($81.6m), was announced in 2011. £38m ($62m) was used to construct a ‘global hub’ for research into the material at the University of Manchester. This latest round is the reallocation of the remaining £12m ($19.6m) from that fund, plus an additional £10m ($16.3m) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  In addition, the £12m in public funding will be matched by a similar sum provided by corporates including Airbus, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Dyson. “It’s exactly what our commitment to science and a proactive industrial strategy is all about – and we’ve beaten off strong global competition,” said George Osborne. “Now I am glad to announce investment that will help take it from the British laboratory to the British factory floor. This shows that even in tough times we are investing in science which is vital to helping the UK get ahead in the global race.”

Subscribe to go deeper

GCV subscribers get access to all our proprietary data and deep-dive articles, as well as the global directory of CVC investors.

Not sure if you have a subscription?