An Advanced Functional Materials Laboratory has opened at the University of Bath thanks to a generous £250,000 donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

In this new facility, researchers will design and develop novel materials to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, including healthcare and climate change.

The laboratory, based in 5 West, is led by Professor Kamal Asadi – a globally recognised leader in the field of advanced functional materials.

Professor Asadi said: “This is an inherently interdisciplinary area of research, drawing on expertise from across the University and beyond, including physics, chemistry, engineering and health.

“Thanks to the Garfield Weston Foundation, we now have a dedicated hub for our research groups on campus and the facilities to strengthen our work in this area, as well as attract more talent from around the world.”

Advanced functional materials will play a pivotal role in supporting the development of alternative sources of clean energy, such as solar and wind, to help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and make the move towards a clean energy future. These materials are envisioned to deliver energy efficient electronics and to revolutionise areas in healthcare technologies.

The team at the University of Bath are designing and developing new materials that can harvest energy that is otherwise wasted – such as vibrations from traffic and footfall – and convert this into electrical power with zero emissions.

These advanced materials could be used, for example, in clothing that would use body movements to power portable devices or even hospital gowns and wound dressings which can monitor vital signs and the recovery process.

Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, Philippa Charles, said: “The Trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation were delighted to support this capital project. The Trustees commented on the importance of high-quality facilities to support vital research and attract talented researchers.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family founded grant-maker that supports a wide range of charities across the UK. Established in 1958, the Foundation is one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the UK and has donated over £1.4 billion in total.

The Foundation has previously supported the University of Bath’s Milner Centre for Evolution and The Edge arts facility on campus.

Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, said: “We are very grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for their continued support.

"This generous grant will further our impactful work in advanced functional materials, which is a growing area of focus for the University due to its great potential to solve global challenges and spans our three strategic research themes: health and wellbeing, sustainability, and digital."