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  • Scotland Invests in Universities
Nov 2004
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 30 -- Scotland has invested £37 million (about $69 million) to help Scottish universities collaborate in physics and chemistry research initiatives. The money will be distributed over four years and will help top scientists work together on cutting-edge projects, the Scottish ministry said.

The investment was announced at a seminar in Glasgow this week. More than 180 chemistry researchers and their teams and more than 200 physicists and their research groups in Scottish higher-education institutions will pool resources in two research alliances. Deputy First Minister and Minister for Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace said the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) is investing £15.9 million in the first research pooling initiatives and follows a 23 percent increase in ministry funding. He said contributions from other organizations and the institutions will result in a total investment up to £37 million over four years.

In physics, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) involves six universities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Paisley, St. Andrews and Strathclyde. SUPA will have a chief executive heading an executive committee that is advised by an external advisory committee and will operate a single pan-Scottish graduate school. SUPA will receive £6.9 million from SHEFC over four years, with further support from the universities and the Office of Science and Technology. The universities' physics departments will collaborate on research programs in astronomy and space physics, condensed matter and materials physics, nuclear and plasma physics, particle physics and photonics.

ScotCHEM, the chemistry initiative, brings together WestCHEM (Glasgow and Strathclyde) and EastCHEM (Edinburgh and St. Andrews). A separate proposal from Heriot-Watt University will be part of ScotCHEM, and eventually Dundee and Aberdeen universities could be involved. EastCHEM will undertake research on biophysical chemistry, chemical biology, organic synthesis, structural chemistry, materials chemistry and physical chemistry/chemical physics. WestCHEM's focus will be inorganic materials synthesis, functional materials synthesis, analytical biological chemistry, chemical proteomics and theoretical chemistry and modeling. At Heriot-Watt, researchers are likely to look at biomimetic and medical organic chemistry, inorganic synthesis and computation, synthesis and properties of new materials, photochemistry and applied spectroscopy and biomanufacturing. SHEFC will contribute about £ 9 million to the ScotCHEM research pool.

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