Lancaster University’s £13m research lab gets government backing

Beyond Imagination project has secured £7.6m from the government’s modern industrial strategy to build a new research lab

Lancaster University’s Beyond Imagination research project has received £7.6m from the government’s modern industrial strategy.

The project, which is co-funded by the university, will build a new £13m research laboratory on campus.

It will include a number of new initiatives including the UK’s first ‘dark design lab’ which will examine nocturnal urban activity on health and wellbeing.

The university will fund a new visualisation studio, PhD students, post-doctoral research and academic staff.

The programme’s principal investigator, Professor Leon Cruickshank, said: “E3 investment will enable us to significantly scale up the development and application of our radical new research in the real world. It will reinforce our position as an internationally-leading design research centre, contribute to the UK’s economy, do social good while exploring new speculative risky research avenues.”

The government has pledged around half of the costs of the new laboratory which was one of only 13 applications rewarded with a state grant.

The three-year project will create 33 jobs and focus on creating on better environments for people to live, work and build communities. The research areas are:

  • Home and living
  • Communities and the public sector
  • Factory and workplaces
  • Cities and urban
  • Population and policy

The research will focus on government policy-led initiatives highlighted in the industrial strategy, and on the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Chris Skidmore, universities and science minister, said: “Pushing the boundaries of knowledge and conquering new innovations are what our universities are known for the world over. This programme led by Lancaster University will look to design the products and services of the future that can best support people.

“The Expanding Excellence in England Fund will support projects throughout England to master new and developing areas of research and industry.

“Made possible through our record R&D spend delivered by our modern Industrial Strategy, the investment will support researchers to develop solutions and opportunities for UK researchers and businesses.”


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