Thirteen government backed projects will benefit from a share of £76 million to work on ground-breaking research.

Bringing experts together, the new research programme will tackle a broad range of challenges.

These include speeding up crop production, creating environmentally-friendly offices and homes, and how engineering enzymes could break down common single-use plastics.

Some of the beneficiaries include:

  • The University of Portsmouth's Centre for Enzyme Innovation will look at how engineering enzymes could break down common single-use plastics which will contribute to a circular economy.
  • The University of Greenwich's Natural Resources Institute will address food and nutrition security in less developed countries, particularly in Africa. The project will adopt a food systems approach and will focus on climate change, sustainable agriculture, food loss and waste and nutrition.
  • University of Lincoln's "Lincoln Agri Robotics" will create the world’s first centre of excellence in Agri-Robotics that will look at how robots can tend, harvest and quality control high-value crops with minimum human intervention.
  • University of Newcastle (with Northumbria University)'s "Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment" will look to create a new generation of buildings – from offices to homes – that are responsive to the environment, consume their own waste and benefit human health.

Announcing the 13 projects, universities and science minister Chris Skidmore said:

“Pushing the boundaries of knowledge and conquering new innovations are what our universities are known for the world over.

“The Expanding Excellence in England Fund will support projects throughout England to master new and developing areas of research and industry.

“Made possible through our record R&D spend delivered by our modern Industrial Strategy, the investment will support researchers to develop solutions and opportunities for UK researchers and businesses.”