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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X01987X/1
Title: An Integrative National Infrastructure for Ultra-High-Field NMR in the Physical and Life Sciences
Principal Investigator: Carlomagno, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Hansen, Professor F Christodoulou, Professor J Calebiro, Professor D
Ludwig, Dr C Bunce, Professor CM Redfield, Professor C
Whittaker, Dr S Vuister, Professor G W Waudby, Dr CA
Baldwin, Professor A Schnell, Dr J R Morris, Professor AJ
Ramos, Professor A Kuprov, Professor I Davis, Professor B
Chung, Dr M Jeeves, Dr M Clark, Dr L
Morris, Professor JR Kirkpatrick, Dr J P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Biosciences
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2023 Ends: 31 December 2027 Value (£): 6,000,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Chemical Structure
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology R&D
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jun 2022 EPSRC 1.2 GHz NMR Facility Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The University of Birmingham has come together with the Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) in Harwell, University College London, and the Universities of Oxford, Leicester and Southampton to build a consortium of outstanding scientists and infrastructure to host the 1.2 GHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer at the Henry Wellcome Building in Birmingham, a national NMR facility with nearly two decades of experience in serving the UK NMR community.

1.2 GHz is the strongest magnetic field-strength available for high-resolution NMR studies. In the UK, this instrument - currently the only one planned nationwide - will need to serve both the physical and life science communities. To meet this challenge and to ensure that the instrument delivers the highest-quality and most relevant science, we propose a fair and transparent model of time-allocation that is entirely based on the respective needs of the physical and life science communities. Furthermore, our management plan seeks to engage the users in the decision-making processes, as well as in a community endeavour to develop methodologies that fully exploit the capabilities of ultra-high-field (UHF) NMR. This national network will be complemented by a network of international partners operating similar instruments, to ensure that the UK NMR community has a strong voice at the top-table of global UHF NMR research.

We anticipate that 1.2 GHz NMR will transform our understanding in three areas: (1) the spatial and temporal resolution of biological mechanisms; (2) the structure and function of materials at the atomic level; (3) the impact of environmental and chemical agents on live cells and organisms. In all three fields, the gains brought by the 1.2 GHz spectrometer will translate into new and otherwise unreachable discoveries that will benefit human wellbeing. In health and the biological sciences, a better understanding of biological mechanisms will help define novel therapeutic strategies in contexts such as infection, cancer, neuropathologies and aging. In the physical sciences, improved characterisation of solid-state structures and properties will accelerate the development of new materials (e.g. for energy storage, electronic devices and drug formulations), as well as the design of industrial strategies for green chemistry. In environmental science, deeper insights into the effects of chemicals and pollutants on plant and microbial functions will facilitate design of effective routes of prevention and intervention.

One key strength of our proposal is to embed the 1.2 GHz spectrometer in a vibrant multidisciplinary research environment, with strong local and national ecosystems of collaborative researchers and research infrastructures, including the Midlands CryoEM Hub in Leicester, the outstanding facilities of the RFI, and synchrotron and neutron-reactor facilities at DIAMOND. Our aim is to encourage and assist UK scientists in applying NMR as a complement to other biophysical-, structural- and computational techniques, including X-ray crystallography, cryoEM, mass spectrometry, and molecular- and quantum-mechanical modelling. Together, this multidisciplinary "team science" will provide essential knowledge for tackling the most critical scientific problems of today's societal challenges.

Finally, we recognise that open and innovative minds are the most important resource in science. Thus, we will deliver a comprehensive and wide-ranging training programme, designed especially to attract new scientific communities to the benefits of UHF NMR in interdisciplinary research.

In conclusion, our proposal would see the 1.2 GHz spectrometer sited in an outstanding environment of multidisciplinary UK researchers and high-end infrastructure, which, together with an ambitious and bespoke training programme, will guarantee that the instrument realises its full potential in enabling ground-breaking research in both the physical and life sciences.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk