2014 budget funds graphene research and an Alan Turing Institute

Your taxes are to fund development of 'wonder material' graphene and a big data institute named after scientist and war hero Alan Turing.

Your taxes are to fund development of 'wonder material' graphene and a big data institute named after scientist and war hero Alan Turing, Chancellor George Osborne announced in his 2014 budget today.

The graphene innovation centre will be part of the Catapult network, a group of centres working on developing new technology and processes for subjects such as manufacturing, satellites, and offshore renewable energy.

The centre will focus on developing the 'wonder material', which was discovered in 2004 and pioneered in Manchester -- earning Nobel prizes for the scientists in question -- but has seen precious little investment in the UK since.

Who's graphene now

Graphene is the thinnest material ever created, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. Breathless advocates of the substance claim it's harder than diamond while still being as flexible as rubber, and could herald all sorts of new innovation. Among graphene's many possible applications are flexible touchscreens; no wonder Samsung has invested in a hatful of patents related to the stuff.

The graphene brain trust will split £74 million of government money over 5 years with a Cell Therapy manufacturing centre, which is to work on large-scale manufacturing of cell therapies for late-stage clinical trials.

Alan Turing Institute cracks big data

£42 million will be spent on The Alan Turing Institute for big data over the next five years. The Institute, named for the mathematician, logician and cryptographer who cracked the wartime Enigma code and is widely considered the father of computing, will research ways of collecting, organising and analysing large sets of data.

Chancellor Osborne also announced £106 million over 5 years for around 20 new Centres for Doctoral Training, which are partnerships between universities, businesses and government to research new technologies and train postgraduate students. More money is also being ploughed into apprenticeship schemes.

In other good news, today's budget raised the regular income tax threshold and cut duty on air travel -- and booze. So here's to Alan Turing and graphene!

 

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