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Weekly roundup 03/03/2017

Sir James Dyson

03/03/2016

In the news recently:

Sir James Dyson, who last year announced he was launching an engineering university, the Dyson Institute of Technology, to double his engineering workforce by 2020, will now open a new multimillion-pound R&D centre in Wiltshire. The Dyson group has promised to pump £2.5bn into future technologies and currently spends £7m a week on R&D. A Dyson technology centre was opened in Singapore earlier this year. Read more about Dyson’s efforts here.

Taking inspiration from the ancient field of alchemy, Jayakanth Ravichandran, an Assistant Professor in the USC Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, is aiming to use seemingly valueless base elements as transition metals. He hopes to design new and complex materials for use in new energy sources. He says, ‘Our goal is to ask this question: The periodic table has a lot of elements. Can you take simple, seemingly useless elements and put them together in a certain fashion to make functional materials out of them?’ His research group is currently focusing on new materials for solar energy conversion. Read more about their work here.

The Haldane Principle, the idea that there should be no political interference in research funding, will be enshrined into law by UK ministers in a response to concerns over the creation of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body, which will oversee and co-ordinate the work of research organisations, following a review of the system by Prof Sir Paul Nurse. UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, has proposed amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill that require ministers or UKRI executives to consult with stakeholders before making any changes to the research focus or names of the current research councils. The amendments also state that Innovate UK should maintain its focus in the industrial arena. Read more here.

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