Two universities and 12 industrial partners in the UK are forming an £ 8.1 million (about $13.5 million) doctoral training collaboration aimed at fostering photonics advances for data storage. The focus of the center will be developing low-cost, manufacturable heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) techniques enabled by components such as lasers, waveguides and plasmonic antennas. HAMR would allow recording densities to continue to increase at the same rate as has happened over the past decade, officials said. Officials say the Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration for Advanced Data Storage will address skills shortages in nanofabrication and photonic integration. Funding for the center includes £ 3 million (about $5 million) from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Students will carry out research at the University of Glasgow and Queen’s University in Belfast, spend time with industry partners and undergo a three-week study period at The Innovation Academy in Dublin. The industry partners are: Seagate Technology, IQE plc, Oclaro Ltd., CST Global, JEOL, FEI Co., Cirdan Imaging, Kelvin Nanotechnology, AHS Ltd., Xyratex, Renishaw and the Knowledge Transfer Network. “While much of personal computing and related electronic devices are moving to (solid-state drives), there is still increasing need for (hard-disc drives) in personal usage in the form of back-up drives, personal TV systems and video recorders,” said professor John Marsh, head of the school of engineering at the University of Glasgow, adding that storage demands from cloud computing continue to increase. For more information, visit www.epsrc.ac.uk.