Brighton University’s new Advanced Engineering Building, which is due to open next September, has received a £500,000 boost.
It will benefit from a grant of half a million for specialist equipment thanks to one of the leading philanthropic grant-making bodies in the country.
The award was made by the Wolfson Foundation which provides funds to support excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts and humanities.
The awards are made after a review process involving expert external reviewers and advisory panels.
The Advanced Engineering Building will house cutting-edge research being led by Professor Morgan Heikal as part of the Advanced Engineering Centre.
The centre has an international reputation for producing innovative, future-facing research into complex engine combustion processes and laser-based measurement techniques, fundamental modelling and computational simulation.
The centre, which has built on a 20-year partnership with Ricardo, is conducting pioneering work on novel low-carbon internal combustion systems.
These are expected to have a direct environmental impact through creating greater fuel efficiency and developing ways in which to reduce CO2 and other harmful emissions.
Brighton University vice-chancellor Debra Humphris welcomed news of the grant saying: “As a university we are committed to making a real practical difference through our research and partnerships.”
Professor Humphris added: “The award of this grant, our first from the Wolfson Foundation, is an important achievement for the University of Brighton and a genuine recognition of our research capacity and impact.
“I hope that it will act as a catalyst for further such bids in the future.”
Andrew Lloyd, dean of the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, paid tribute to the continuing work of the Advanced Engineering Centre.
Professor Lloyd said: “This result is testament to the world-leading research being carried out in Brighton by Morgan Heikal and his team.
“The bid process involved stringent peer review and it is most pleasing to know their research is viewed so highly by the external academic community.”
Director of philanthropy and alumni engagement Sam Davies welcomed the grant – the first major donation given to the university by a grant-making organisation – and said: “The Wolfson Foundation is very aware of the role universities and their research play in addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges.
“They also lead by example in terms of providing philanthropic support to add substantial value to university activities.
“To receive this grant represents a real milestone for the University of Brighton’s fundraising activities and we are delighted to have helped make this happen.”
Wolfson Foundation chief executive Paul Ramsbottom said: “Awards from the Wolfson Foundation are made following a rigorous review process and are a mark of excellence.
“This is certainly the case with the University of Brighton’s Advanced Engineering Centre which will support research of the highest quality.
“We are delighted to be funding Brighton and were particularly impressed by the fruitful partnership between the university and industry.
“Urban pollution and the wider effect of high carbon emissions remain some of the greatest societal challenges.
“Success in creating the next generation of more efficient, low-carbon internal combustion engines will benefit us all.”
The Wolfson Foundation grant means that £14.5 million has now been secured towards the overall £17 million target investment for the Advanced Engineering Centre.
The university hopes to generate the remaining funds through a public fundraising campaign among alumni, friends and organisations.