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£2.66 million for high-tech facilities to benefit bioscience research

Windfall amount for consortium of Midlands-based universities developing high-end technologies A consortium of Midlands universities that is working to bring funding for high-end technologies to the region has received a significant new award.  The M5 Group, which consists of the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, has been successful in receiving over £2.6 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's ALERT 14 initiative. It will support five projects at universities across the Midlands region that are developing cutting edge technologies to benefit research into biological and medical science. ALERT 14, the BBSRC's Advanced Life Sciences Research Technology initiative, provides funding for advanced research equipment and the development of capability in its creative use, which is a key component in maintaining the competitiveness of the UK research base.' The projects receiving funding at M5 Group universities are:

University of Leicester

Professor Nick Hartell

Super-resolution multi-photon and dSTORM imaging system


University of Birmingham

Professor Helen Cooper

High performance mass spectrometry at the University of Birmingham


University of Nottingham

Professor Malcolm Bennett

Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscope


Dr Matthew Loose

High throughput intermediate scale sequencing for the Midlands


University of Warwick

Corinne Smith and Steve Royle

3D Cellular Imaging


The M5 Group of universities and was established to boost research collaboration and improve sharing of equipment. The group aims to collaborate in funding bids for high-end equipment to help improve efficiencies in the use of research equipment for the partner universities. The BBSRC funding is the first successful bid by the consortium.

Professor John Heath, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Estates and Infrastructure and Chair of the M5 Board, said: “We are delighted with our successful bid which recognises the accomplishments which can be made when we work together. By working with each other on bids such as this, we demonstrate that through collaboration, we can ensure the global community takes notice of the outstanding work taking place at Midlands universities.”
Professor Kevin Schürer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for the Midlands. It illustrates what can be achieved by working in partnership through regional collaboration. Building critical mass at a regional level allows the Midlands to compete with the world’s best in terms of research excellence.”

April 2015