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Published: 27 March 2015

Launch of new partnership arrangement for future operation of the National Physical Laboratory

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has formally signed a partnership agreement with the University of Strathclyde and the University of Surrey which will set a new strategic direction for the future of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Surrey and Strathclyde will be investing £10 million over the next five years to help create five new joint research centres (including a focus on quantum technologies, low carbon energy and advanced manufacturing), three new regional hubs and a postgraduate institute.

Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “This £10 million strategic partnership with the University of Strathclyde and the University of Surrey heralds a new chapter for NPL – paving the way for further scientific excellence and stronger engagement with business.

“With five new research centres and a new postgraduate institute there’s a lot to celebrate and the recent appointment of David Grant as Chair of the NPL Board will help guide this ambitious plan for growth.”

Commenting on the partnership, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: “This partnership of excellence in measurement sciences will not only benefit a range of industries across the UK, but will have international impact in key areas such as healthcare, meteorology, communications and space exploration. The University of Surrey, along with Strathclyde, will bring its collaborative ethos to the fore, connecting academia with industry to bring expertise and services closer to the communities who can benefit. We are delighted that the formal partnership has been signed and that the practical benefits of this new relationship will soon be seen across key areas.”

Brian Bowsher, Director of NPL, said: "Following our move to BIS ownership in January, we are delighted to be signing this partnership agreement. NPL already has very strong links with both Surrey and Strathclyde and we are excited by the ambitious and exciting opportunities to work together to enhance our science and increase our impact across the UK.”

The University of Surrey and the University of Strathclyde are leading international higher education institutions whose work has an impact on society and the global economy through pioneering research in priority sectors. They share an enterprising spirit and a strong track record of working with business and industry, achieved by removing barriers between scientific discoveries and commercial applications. The partnership will also benefit from the close involvement of the University of Cambridge, the University of Huddersfield and LGC.

Strathclyde’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said: “NPL is a world-class centre of excellence in developing and applying measurement standards and its work with business and industry is well-established. As a leading international technological university, Strathclyde will use its extensive research base and its industry and international connections to help grow still further the capability and reputation of this globally recognised Institute.

“The strength of this partnership lies in its inclusive and open approach to research and innovation and Strathclyde is very much looking forward to working with our partners to shape the future strategy for measurement science globally for the benefit of science and society and to create sustainable, long term economic growth.”

Discover our programmes in PhysicsElectronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Sciences and read more about Surrey's partnership with the National Physical Laboratory.