UofG to share in Centres for Doctoral Training funding

The University of Glasgow is set to share in hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment in UK research skills.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced significant new investment in Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) during an event at the London Stock Exchange Today.

The University of Glasgow will lead two CDTs and play supporting roles in three more.

A total of 75 Centres for Doctoral Training will be created at UK universities and funded through EPSRC, which has allocated 444 million and a further 2.2 million from The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Science Foundation Ireland will be supporting a Republic of Ireland cohort on seven Centres with a contribution of approximately 39 million, and industry partners will contribute a further 386 million in cash or in-kind.

The CDTs will equip the UK with the next generation of doctoral level researchers it needs across the breadth of the engineering and physical sciences landscape.

Professor Miles Padgett, Vice-Principal for Research at the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re pleased and proud to have had such success in our bids for Centres for Doctoral Training funding. It’s a tremendous endorsement of the University of Glasgow’s expertise across numerous areas of cutting-edge research, and a fantastic opportunity for early-career researchers to gain invaluable new skills and training.”

University of Glasgow researchers will take the lead in two Centres for Doctoral Training: one in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine - which will be known as lifETIME - and a second in in Future Ultrasonic Engineering - known as FUSE.

lifETIME, which also involves researchers from the University of Birmingham, the National University of Ireland Galway and Aston University, in addition to 50 partners from industry and academia, aims to train a new generation of life science leaders in the area of non-animal technologies (NATs) who can ensure the UK bioeconomy innovates and grows.

They will create NATs that form the basis for drug screening, toxicology testing and regenerative medicine. A total of 84 students will have the opportunity to work with lifETIME, which will receive 6.7m in funding from EPSRC and a further 4.8m from Science Foundation Ireland.

FUSE brings together the University of Glasgow with the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering and more than 35 external partners, including SMEs, making it the largest academic ultrasonic engineering unit in the world.

It will train a cadre of 54 technical and managerial leaders to drive forward innovation in a sector vital for UK prosperity. FUSE will receive funding worth 5.8m from EPSRC with contributions worth 3.4m from external partners.

University of Glasgow scientists will also partner with other universities and industry partners in three additional Centres for Doctoral Training. They are:

- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage (PIADS), a Queens University Belfast-led CDT partnership initially established with the University of Glasgow in 2014. The renewed partnership will now include the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in Cork and Dublin, itself a partner of Science Foundation Ireland.

- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Software-Centric Lightweight Verification (SCaLe), led by the University of St. Andrews

- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industry-Inspired Photonic Imaging, Sensing and Analysis, led by Heriot-Watt University.

The Centres’ 1,400 project partners have contributed 386 million in cash and in-kind support, and include companies such as Tata Steel and Procter and Gamble and charities such as Cancer Research UK.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “As we explore new research to boost our economy with an increase of over 7 billion invested in R&D over five years to 2021/22 - the highest increase for over 40 years - we will need skilled people to turn ideas into inventions that can have a positive impact on our daily lives.

“The Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the country will offer the next generation of PHD students the ability to get ahead of the curve. In addition, this has resulted in nearly 400 million being leveraged from industry partners. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action, ensuring all corners of the UK thrive with the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

“As Science Minister, I’m delighted we’re making this massive investment in postgraduate students as part of our increased investment in R&D.”

UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “Highly talented people are required to tackle key global challenges such as sustainable energy and cyber security, and provide leadership across industries and our public services.

“Centres for Doctoral Training provide them with the support, tools and training they need to succeed, and the involvement of 1,400 project partners underlines how much industry and the charity sector value this approach.”

The successful Centres will focus on cohort-based doctoral training and cover a wide range of fields, from Medical Imaging to Quantum Engineering, Offshore Renewable Energy to Statistical Applied Mathematics.

The importance of developing STEM skills is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, ensuring that all areas of the UK embrace innovation and build the skills the economy needs to thrive.

The EPSRC has supported over 50,000 doctoral students over the last 25 years.

Over this time it has reviewed and evolved the support it provides to ensure it meets the needs of the research and innovation community. CDTs are one of three ways that EPSRC funds doctoral training with the other routes being Doctoral Training Partnerships and Industrial CASE. CDT investments comprise of around 45 per cent of EPSRC’s doctoral training investment.

43 per cent of EPSRC invested students go on to be employed in business/public services and 36 per cent go on to work in academia.