Eight Scottish universities are to share almost pound;50 million to increase their physics research capabilities.
The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) and the participating universities have confirmed funding of pound;48 million for the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA); it is the second investment in SUPA, which was set up in 2004.
The cash will help fund major developments in Scotland's research infrastructure and personnel, including the setting up of a unique centre to develop and exploit laser-driven plasma accelerators at Strathclyde University, new labs and equipment at St Andrews University, and the establishment of a large-scale, pan-Scottish Physics and Life Sciences research team.
The universities and leading Scottish scientists say the pound;48m investment will have multiple spin-out benefits for Scotland, well beyond the confines of pure physics research. Medical research and technology, industrial and commercial activity, the higher education sector and the NHS are all expected to benefit.
The SUPA bid is intended to give the country's physics research capabilities a profile and critical mass which will draw world-leading scientists to Scotland and build the nation's reputation as a leader in international science.