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SPECIFIC Secures Funding to Continue After EU Funding Ends

The sun peeking around the Active Office roof

SPECIFIC has secured funding from the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which will be co-funded by the Welsh Government.

The two-year agreement provides £500,000 from EPSRC, which has been matched with £500,000 from the Welsh Government. This funding will support our core team for one year.

As existing EU-funded programmes end this year, the future funding of many projects in Wales is in doubt.

The collaborative approach between EPSRC and Welsh Government to award this fund will allow some of our critical research and business support work to continue while we seek longer-term funding.

In its recently-published innovation strategy the Welsh Government recognised that, in the post EU-funding world, it no longer holds many of the financial levers it used to have to make significant investments in research and development; Wales will need to build on areas of strength and real potential and work collaboratively with private, public and third sector to secure funding. 

Net Zero and decarbonisation are priority areas of the strategy. This funding will keep expertise in Wales and continue to support Wales and the UK in our journey towards Net Zero, developing new technologies and pushing forward on adoption and diffusion.

Building on a decade of success

SPECIFIC was one of seven Innovation and Knowledge Centres set up in 2011 to foster new industries by closing the gap between scientific research and its commercial exploitation.

Since 2016, SPECIFIC has received £18m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, in concert with funds from UKRI.

This funding has supported work with 257 businesses on 178 collaborative projects, developing 45 new to firm or new to market products. This has led to over £37million private sector investment into these companies and the creation of 302 jobs.

They include businesses like:

Our own research has also seen significant advances during this period. SPECIFIC has collaborated with 41 research organisations globally, particularly in next-generation photovoltaics. Our focus on the scale-up of technology and demonstration on buildings has found an important place in the research community.

Examples of our research advances include:

Our success was last year recognised with the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Science and Technology. As a result, Swansea was the only Welsh University included in the “Accelerating towards Net Zero” report – the first of its kind, which highlights target areas for emissions reporting and reduction.

There is still much to do on our journey towards Net Zero

This funding will enable our work to continue and to develop projects that are underway including:

Crucially, SPECIFIC also acts as a hub for academics, researchers, businesses and public sector organisations to work together, learn from each other and support each other to be more sustainable.

The project links allied programmes in energy, materials and steel development, benefitting the Swansea Bay region, Wales, the UK and well beyond.

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