THE University of Cambridge has opened its pioneering Maxwell Centre for collaborative research between industry and the physical sciences.
Researchers at the £26m (US$37m) centre will come from Cambridge’s departments of physics, chemistry, chemical engineering and biotechnology, engineering, and material sciences and metallurgy. Centre director Richard Friend said that the focus of the centre will be to translate ‘blue skies’ research into useful products for industry.
The main areas of research for the centre include efficient energy generation, photovoltaics, energy storage, refrigeration and lighting. It will foster research in advanced scientific computing, materials science research, nanoscience and biophysics.
The Maxwell Centre includes offices, laboratory and meeting space for more than 230 people. It will be home to two Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres for Doctoral Training.The SKF University Technology Centre, a materials science research centre between Cambridge and steel firm SKF focussed on steel, and the Energy@Cambridge Initiative, which links more than 250 academics working in energy research, will also be based in the building.
“The co-location of academics and industry supports a two-way flow of ideas. New research opportunities are often revealed by industrial activity, their solutions require transfer of ideas and techniques often from fields well away from the industry,” said Friend. “It demonstrates our commitment to collaborating with industry, large and small, through intellectual innovation.”
The centre has been named after James Clerk Maxwell, the first professor of experimental physics at Cambridge in 1871, who discovered electromagnetism and founded statistical mechanics.
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