UK finances new photonics research institute

A £40 million (US$48 million) research institute specialising in light and laser technologies has been launched by the University of Manchester.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - A £40 million (US$48 million) research institute specialising in light and laser technologies has been launched by the University of Manchester. The Photon Science Institute (PSI) was launched on February 158 with financial support from the UK’s Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The university claims that the PSI will be the largest research and teaching centre of its kind in the UK, with a projected annual research income of £5 million (US$6 million).

The PSI is aimed at being cross and multi-disciplinary in nature. It includes specialists in physics and astronomy, various branches of engineering, chemistry, dentistry, pharmacy and medicine among other disciplines. There are currently more than 100 academics from across each of the faculties within The University of Manchester who make up the membership of the Institute. More than 30 academics will permanently re-locate to a new £55 million (US$65.5 million) purpose built facility, scheduled for completion in 2007, bringing with them approximately £10 million (US$12 million) worth of equipment. This will complement the new central laser facilities. In addition, it is estimated that 75 postgraduate students will re-locate to the new building as well as 20 technical, administrative and support staff. A full-time postgraduate MSc in Photon Science will be offered from October 2006.

Klaus Müller-Dethlefs, a molecular spectroscopist, has been appointed the first Director of the PSI. Pavel Hobza, of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and Wolfgaard Demtroder, of the University of Kaiserstautern (Germany), have been appointed as Fellows of the Institute.

“Using the most advanced lasers and optical technologies we will be taking on some very challenging problems of science with applications in the world of medicine, biosciences, engineering, environmental and physical sciences,” said Müller-Dethlefs. “Our vision is to position the Photon Science Institute as a world leading centre for photon science research and development with an emphasis on knowledge transfer and innovation within industry.”

The PSI aims to foster collaborations and interactions between academics, researchers and industry, whilst at the same time providing a world class facility for cross-disciplinary research. It also claims that it will provide postgraduate and industrial education through the use of e-learning courses.

More information can be found at www.psi.manchester.ac.uk.

- Bridget K. Marx

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