UK Business Secretary, Greg Clark has announced the consortium of UK universities which will form the GBP65m (US$86m) Faraday Battery Institute.

The Institute will bring together expertise and insight from its seven founding partner universities, industry partners and other academic institutions to accelerate fundamental research to develop battery technologies. 

The universities forming the institute are: University of Southampton; Imperial College London; Newcastle University; University College London; University of Cambridge; University of Oxford and University of Warwick.

“Through the Faraday Research Challenge we are cementing our position as the ‘go-to’ destination for battery technology so we can exploit the global transition to a low carbon economy,” said Clark.

“The Faraday Battery Institute will have a critical role in fostering innovative research collaboration between our universities and businesses to make this technology more accessible and more affordable.

“We have huge expertise in this area already and the Faraday Battery Institute collaboration between our seven founding universities provides a truly unique opportunity for us to bring together our expertise and an effort in this area behind a common set of strategic goals to ensure the UK exploits the jobs and business opportunities.”

With GBP65m of funding through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Institute will invest an initial GBP13.7m to set up headquarters.

“Climate change and moving towards low carbon economies mean the demand for clean energy production and effective energy storage, in the UK and globally, is rising,” said EPSRC chief executive, Philip Nelson.

“The Faraday Institute will bring leading academics in the field of battery development together to explore novel approaches that will meet these challenges and accelerate the development of new products and techniques.

“EPSRC is pleased to be helping establish the Institute, and the drive to keep the UK a prosperous and productive nation.” 

The Business Secretary confirmed in July the Government would be making an investment of GBP246m across a four-year period in the Faraday Research Challenge.

The Challenge is divided into three streams: research, innovation and scale-up which is designed to drive a step-change in transforming the UK’s research into market-ready technologies.

The Faraday Research Challenge is one of  six areas the government, together with business and academia, identified through its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) as being one of the UK’s core industrial challenges and opportunities, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future.

The government will also shortly unveil the winners of its first GBP55m Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) testing infrastructure competition.

This follows the British government opening its GBP100m CAV test bed competition in April, inviting proposals for how to create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing, along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London, to accelerate the development of this technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK.