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£13m supercomputer top-up to tackle problems of cars, climate and chemistry

Government boosts e-infrastructure investment to fully fund Archer...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

Government boosts e-infrastructure investment to fully fund Archer...

The government has boosted planned investment in e-infrastructure by a further £13m, bringing the total to £158m.

Back in October the government announced a £145m investment in e-infrastructure such as data storage, faster networks and large high performance supercomputers.

BIS' David Willetts

Science minister David Willetts has announced an extra £13m of e-infrastructure cash will fully fund a new national supercomputerPhoto: BIS

The extra £13m has been added to the pot following the chancellor's autumn statement and will allow for complete funding of a new national supercomputer, known as Archer, according to the government.

A total of £43m will be used to fund Archer. The supercomputer will support advanced research such as climate science and complex chemistry, according to the government. It will also help industries such as the aerospace and automotive sectors to design new products and could lead to the car industry being able to build safer vehicles more quickly and analyse accidents more effectively.

"We should not think of infrastructure as just roads and railways - it's also the networks and systems that underpin our world-leading science and research base," David Willetts, minister of state for universities and science, said in a statement.

In addition to Archer, the £158m e-infrastructure pot will also fund a range of other projects:

  • £31m to improve high capacity networks, including the Janet higher education and research network
  • £30m for the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus to support research into the latest product development software
  • £24m for high capacity data storage across the Research Councils to ensure researchers can easily access complex information from experiments
  • £19m for specialist supercomputers in areas such as particle physics and astronomy, weather forecasting and climate change, and genome analysis
  • £6.5m to establish a research fund for collaborative university projects to improve access to e-infrastructure
  • £4.75m for the UK Space Agency to support the collection and storage of data from satellites

Willetts said the full £158m programme of investment will help businesses and universities alike. "It will improve research and manufacturing processes and reduce the time and money it takes to bring a product to market," he said, adding: "This will drive growth and innovation across a whole range of sectors and ensure our leading institutions and companies are able to exploit the very latest technology."

The government added that the investment is subject to business case approval, and is in addition to the ringfenced science and research budget.

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