The University of Southampton

Chief Executive of EPSRC visits the ORC

Published: 19 January 2006

Professor John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) visited the University of Southampton on Thursday 22nd December 2005 to see some of the work being done by the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and School of Electronics & Computer Science (ECS). Both were affected by the recent fire, and Professor O’Reilly expressed his strong support for staff and students as they resume projects.

After meeting with the Vice Chancellor Bill Wakeham, Director of the ORC David Payne and Head of ECS Wendy Hall, he was shown some of the laboratories where EPSRC-funded research takes place. He then met with a group of staff and students who were affected by the fire, and spoke of the strong relationship between Southampton and EPSRC.

Several EPSRC grants have been awarded to both the ORC and ECS since the fire. Professor O’Reilly spoke of his unabated confidence in the world-leading teams at Southampton to rise above the recent difficulties.

“Recent grant awards have, as always, been based on ability to carry out ground-breaking research.” commented Professor O’Reilly. “These teams have consistently demonstrated their capabilities, and as with all such centres of UK excellence, we want to support them in any way we can. It is in everyone’s interest that the affected research teams are fully operational as soon as possible. I’m very pleased to see how quickly they are bouncing back.”

This visit comes as the plans for new facilities are taking shape, something all are looking forward to.

“We have a strong relationship with EPSRC that goes beyond the role of sponsor and research group, as evidenced by the Portfolio Partnership Award.” remarked Professor David Payne. “We have the same fundamental goals, and see ourselves as partners in achieving them. This visit has helped to reiterate that, and it was an opportunity for staff to hear that directly from the EPSRC. Now that we are past the immediate crisis of the fire, we are all looking forward to focusing on our research in the New Year, and to building the best cleanroom research facilities in Europe…again!”

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