The funding comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK's main funding agency for scientific research.
They will award Impact Acceleration Accounts ranging from £600,000 to £6m to 31 universities across the UK.
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£13 million pounds is being invested to help stop vulnerable young people being exploited by gangs who use them to sell drugs.
A drunk man who narrowly escaped death when he lay down between train tracks in Harlow has been given a 12-month community order.
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