EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training – building skills for a prosperous nation

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EPSRC is the largest investor in doctoral training in the UK, providing young engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle evolving issues and future challenges.

  • Around £500 million invested in 115 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)
  • Over £450 million matched funding from industry and other partners
  • CDTs span 49 UK universities involved in training over 7,000 students
  • Around 40 per cent of all EPSRC-funded students go on to work in business or public services

Since 2013, EPSRC has invested around £500 million in 115 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). This investment has been matched by more than £450 million from business, universities and other stakeholders, creating the UK’s largest investment in postgraduate training in engineering and physical sciences.

Spanning over 40 UK universities and training over 7,000 students, CDTs bring together diverse areas of expertise to ensure advances in research in many areas of fundamental science and engineering, as well as providing future leaders in key areas for the UK economy including energy, data science, manufacturing, materials and healthcare technology.

Each centre trains doctoral students for four years. The programme includes technical and transferrable skills training, as well as a research element. They provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, creating new working cultures, building relationships between teams in universities and forging lasting links with industry.

The investments are crucial to avoid systemic skills shortages in the UK. Many of the centres involve research that connects to key industries and important technologies which aid innovation and growth. Over 1,000 industry and charity partners are involved in the centres, leveraging around £450 million worth of support.

As an example, the EPSRC CDT in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment at the University of Cambridge aims to develop world-class multidisciplinary engineers equipped to face current and future challenges related to infrastructure and the built environment. The centre’s industrial partners work closely with it to shape its training programme and ensure this meets the UK’s skills requirements. The centre is receiving EPSRC funding of £4.2 million and nearly £5 million in industrial support.

Tim Embley, Innovation Director at engineering multinational, Costain, says: “The teams emerging from this CDT will be the next-generation business leaders who will solve some of the most pressing challenges faced by the infrastructure sector. It’s vitally important that industry has a pipeline of innovation emerging from research relationships with experienced people with the knowledge to implement solutions. The CDT is meeting this need.”