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UK-India laser technology programme to benefit both countries' economies

Project will fund the new UK-India Extreme Photonics Innovation Centre

9th August 2019 - Laser scientists and engineers from the United Kingdom and India will collaborate under a new innovation programme to develop fresh laser technologies that will have the potential to boost the economies of both countries.

Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with the UK lead being the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Central Laser Facility (CLF), the £4 million Extreme Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) will be housed in laboratories set up at TIFR Hyderabad. The project will focus on developing and exploiting laser techniques for economic and societal impact. The joint UK and India scheme will use particle and x-ray beams with the aim of revolutionising a range of areas of healthcare, such as high-resolution imaging, therapeutic and biomedical applications to tackle health problems.

The EPIC project is one of thirteen new research projects announced today by Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom. The funding for the projects will be matched by international collaborators from countries including India, China, the USA and Japan.  It brings the total UK investment in international scientific collaborations to more than £2 billion.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:

“The partnerships announced today underline the critical role that international collaboration will play in addressing pressing global challenges, from climate change to deadly diseases such as Ebola and Zika.

“The Fund for International Collaboration demonstrates that the UK’s research and innovation community will be at the forefront of efforts to tackle these problems, delivering benefits that will be felt here in the UK and throughout the world.”

The investment in the EPIC project comes as part of the second wave of the Government’s Fund for International Collaboration, overseen by UKRI – the government’s research and development agency.  It will support EPIC and these other projects over a five-year period, helping to maintain the aim of promoting the UK as a world-class destination to generate and access research and innovation. 

Speaking about EPIC the Central Laser Facility Director Professor John Collier said “These new accelerators can deliver very bright particle and x-ray beams that could be used for high-resolution industrial and biomedical imaging, and for therapeutic applications.”

“CLF is a world-leader in exploiting these novel accelerators and we’ll build on our long-standing collaboration with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) whose expertise in this area will help us develop this work further.”

Professor V. Chandrasekhar, Centre Director, TIFR Hyderabad said of the new collaboration.

 “TIFR has a long tradition of research on lasers and plans to initiate new activities based on intense petawatt lasers at its Hyderabad campus. With this background TIFR is collaborating with the CLF team to develop state of the art technologies that will be of great benefit to both India and UK.”

EPIC’s UK Lead, Dr Rajeev Pattathil, said experiments using CLF’s existing high power laser systems had already demonstrated the potential application of the new accelerators in industry, engineering, science, medicine, and advanced materials.

“Working with India on developing further the technologies that transform novel accelerators to real world applications will be mutually beneficial as India aspires to have a strong research programme in this area through the recently announced expansion of the TIFR centre in Hyderabad that will house EPIC”

 

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The Fund for International Collaboration is managed and administered by UK Research and Innovation.  More information can be found here: https://www.ukri.org/research/international/fund-for-international-collaboration-fic/

The Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is one of the world’s leading laser facilities providing scientists from the UK and Europe with an unparalleled range of state of the art technology. CLF is a partnership between its staff and the large number of members of UK and European universities who use the specialised laser equipment provided to carry out a broad range of experiments in physics, chemistry and biology.

Wide-ranging laser applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions and studying biochemical and biophysical processes.

 

Last updated: 09 August 2019

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