Astronomers from 11 different institutions have joined forces to hunt for alien life, setting up a network to coordinate their activity.
The UK Seti Research Network will fund research that considers new ways to find extraterrestrial intelligence, as well as buying listening time on radio telescopes.
At present, most Seti work is performed in the United States and funded by private donors. One of the coordinators of the UK's new network, Alan Penny,told the BBC that he thought there was important expertise in Britain too. "
Jodrell Bank's Tim O'Brien said: "There are billions of planets out there. It would be remiss of us not to at least have half an ear open to any signals that might be being sent to us."