A new facility called the Higgs Centre for Innovation opened at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh on 25 May as part of the UK government’s efforts to boost productivity and innovation. The centre, named after Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics for his theoretical work on the Higgs mechanism, will offer start-up companies direct access to academics and industry experts. Space-related technology and big-data analytics are the intended focus, and up to 12 companies will be based there at any one time. According to a press release from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the facility incorporates laboratories and working spaces for researchers, and includes a business incubation centre based on the successful European Space Agency model already in operation in the UK.
“Professor Higgs’ theoretical work could only be proven by collaboration in different scientific fields, using technology built through joint international ventures,” said principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh Peter Mathieson. “This reflects the aims and values of the Higgs Centre for Innovation, which bring scientists, engineers and students together under one roof to work together for the purpose of bettering our understanding of space-related science and driving technological advancement forward.”
The Higgs Centre for Innovation was funded through a £10.7 million investment from the UK government via STFC, which is also investing £2 million over the next five years to operate the centre.