Swansea receives £36M UK Government funding for clean energy tech breakthrough

Swansea receives £36 million UK Government funding for its clean energy tech breakthrough

  • The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced new £36 million UK Government funding for clean energy innovation in the construction sector through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
  • The funding will go to the SPECIFIC research institute, part of Swansea University, which develops new building materials and coatings which generate electricity from light and heat.
  • This energy can be used to power homes, hospitals and schools, or be sold back to the national grid.
  • Total amount of UK Government funding to Swansea University since 2010 tops £100million mark


More than £36 million of UK Government funding will be provided to Swansea to support cutting-edge building materials which generates electricity, the Chancellor has announced during a visit to Wales with the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns.

The green technology uses light and heat to make energy, and has the potential to power homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals. These materials could replace conventional walls, roofs and windows, generating electricity which is stored and released by a smart operating system. Excess electricity could also be sold back to the national grid.

Today’s announcement supports the government’s mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030: making buildings more energy efficient by embracing smart technologies will cut household energy bills, reduce the demand for energy, and boost the UK’s economic growth whilst meeting targets for carbon reduction.

On a visit to Swansea University’s School of Engineering, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

“Swansea University and the innovative companies working with it are world-leaders in clean energy. The UK Government is backing the industries of the future that will deliver jobs and opportunities across Wales. This £36 million new funding will support exciting green technology that could cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better homes and workspaces.”

The Chancellor was joined on the visit by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns who opened the Active Office on the Swansea Bay Campus earlier this year.

The UK Government has long been a proud supporter of the SPECIFIC project, and last year awarded £800,000 of funding towards it via Innovate UK

Since 2010, Swansea University has received over £68million of research funding from the UK Government. The additional £36m of funding will see the total amount the University has received from the UK Government top £100million over that period.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: 

“The UK Government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and this additional investment at Swansea University shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area. 

“The cutting-edge research being developed at this institution is being translated into practical inventions and techniques that can improve our lives. It truly is science with a purpose.

“Today’s funding announcement, on top of the £68 million commitment to Swansea University since 2010, will ensure that Wales and one of its most forward- thinking universities will play a key role in keeping the UK at the vanguard of innovation for years to come.”

Cllr Lyndon Jones (Leader) and Cllr Myles Langstone (Deputy Leader), commented:

“We welcome this important investment of £36 million by the UK Conservative Government in Swansea, to support cutting-edge building materials which generates electricity, supporting well paid high-value jobs in new industries.

With over £100m committed to Swansea University since 2010 by the UK Government, the challenge for Swansea Council now is to ensure that local people can take advantage of the jobs that will be created.

We've been arguing the case for Swansea to provide and promote opportunities for young people to study and train in order to gain the skills required to get these well-paid jobs in these new, innovative industries.

This investment comes on the back of Swansea Bay City Deal and the scrapping of the Severn Bridge tolls, which will hugely benefit Swansea”.


This new funding is part of the biggest increase in research and development (R&D) investment for 40 years, supporting high-value jobs in emerging industries. Since Autumn 2016, the Government has invested an additional £7 billion in R&D – demonstrating clear progress towards the ambition to raise investment in R&D across the entire UK economy to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

Remaining at the forefront of next generation clean energy is a key part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, playing a key part in growing our national income while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Maximising the advantages for UK industry in clean growth, will increase our productivity, create good jobs, and help protect the climate and environment upon which we and future generations depend.

At the same time, the UK Government continues its wider support for Wales. This includes:

  • As a result of the recent NHS announcement, the Welsh Government are expected to benefit from a £1.2bn a year boost to their budget by 2023/24.
  • Autumn Budget 2017 provided a £1.2 million boost to the Welsh Government’s budget.
  • The UK Government is investing £615m for the Cardiff and Swansea City Deals and making progress on growth deals with North Wales and Mid-Wales.
  • The Welsh Government will receive additional funding of £23.5m as a result of the Department for Education’s decision to increase pay for teachers in England and Wales.
  • The number of people in work in Wales is at a record high level and productivity growth in Wales is the 3rd strongest of all 12 UK regions and nations.