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Alliances for Research Challenges

During a visit to the Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, Higher Education Minister, Jamie Hepburn, has today (Wednesday 3 August) announced the challenge areas selected for a new national research initiative. The initiative will see partnerships drawn from Scottish universities, and others, addressing societal challenges while at the same time boosting Scottish research competitiveness.

Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCs) will each receive up to £600,000 of funding over four years from SFC to enable universities to create broad, multi-disciplinary, cross-sector teams that will coordinate and support bids for further, external research funding, enabling them to find solutions which benefit Scottish society in line with Scottish Government priorities.

The selected challenge areas will consider societal challenges ranging from how we tackle healthy ageing and improve the nation’s brain health; to how we might use quantum technologies to support our future economy; to how we manage our food systems, addressing health, equity, and sustainability; and to how we manage energy transition and sustainability, tackling social, technical, and economic challenges.

Higher Education Minister, Jamie Hepburn, said:

“It was great to visit the University of Glasgow and announce the successful challenge areas as part of SFC’s new Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCs).

“ARCs will connect Scotland’s research excellence to Scotland’s national challenges and will build on Scotland’s unique collaborative ethos and our world-class universities to prime the Scottish landscape to respond to challenge-focused research funding opportunities.

“I look forward to hearing more as these ARCs progress and the innovative solutions being developed in areas ranging from healthy ageing, quantum technologies, managing our food systems, and energy transition and sustainability.”

Commenting on the outcome, Mike Cantlay, Chair of SFC, said:

“Scotland has a world-leading research base, as confirmed by the recent UK-wide assessment of university research, and our universities are well-placed to help us find solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face together.

“We are delighted to be supporting them to work collaboratively across subject disciplines and across institutions so that they are in a stronger position to compete for the necessary funding that will enable them to carry out research that will find solutions that are of benefit to us all.”

Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said:

“Scotland’s universities are a genuinely world-leading source of research and expertise that will play a central role in meeting the major social, economic and environmental challenges that we face in the 21st century. Playing our full role in tackling these national and international issues will require us to work together not just across institutions but across disciplines and the Alliances for Research Challenges will play a crucial role in facilitating this work.

“This philosophy of multi-disciplinary research is perfectly encapsulated in the University of Glasgow’s newly opened Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre, a truly unique building which fosters bold and creative research, and which will have a genuine social impact and make a significant contribution to tackling the major challenges before us in the years to come.”