A NEW research centre in Oxfordshire will help find ways to speed up mass production of medicines and make exhaust fumes less toxic.

The UK Catalysis Hub at Harwell, which was officially opened by Wantage and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey last Friday, will bring together research from across the UK into the field of catalysts – the agents that speed up chemical reactions.

Catalysts are known for their use in vehicle exhaust systems, where they help break down toxic gases produced by car engines before they are released into the atmosphere.

Research fellow Peter Wells said: “This will be a hub for everyone, all the major players.”

The hub was made possible by grants amounting to £13m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, awarded at Christmas.

Scientists there will carry out research using Harwell’s state-of-the-art facilities such as the diamond light source, which produces X-Rays, and ISIS, which produces neutrons.