DURHAM University scientists are getting £3m funding for their world-class physics research.

The money is coming from the Joint Infrastructure Fund, supported by the Government, the Wellcome Foundation and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

It will be used to set up the Durham Centre for Fundamental Physics, which aims to be a world centre of excellence for the study of the atom and the structure of the universe.

Professor Michael Pennington, head of the university's physics department, said: "This award places Durham at the forefront of world research on the structure of the universe. We are looking forward keenly to developing our new facilities and, of course, to getting on with the work."

The award will go towards a £5.5m building next to the physics department, at the university's Stockton Road science site.

The university has also won £1.4m from the Joint Research Equipment Initiative for a super computer on which researchers can simulate the evolution of the universe from the "Big Bang" to the present.