EPSRC announces opening of call for £492 million investment in Centres for Doctoral Training

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One of the UK's largest investments in training for engineering and the physical sciences was announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as it opened a call for applications to support the next group of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), to which it is committing £492 million - subject to budget confirmation.

Research and development is at the heart of the Government's modern Industrial Strategy and this investment builds on the Government's ambition to increase combined public and private investment in R&D to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

The CDTs will focus on cohort-based doctoral training in areas where both breadth and depth of research training are required to address UK skills needs at doctoral level across the engineering and physical sciences landscape. The importance of developing STEM skills is a key part of the Industrial Strategy, ensuring that all areas of the UK embrace innovation and build the skills the economy needs to thrive.

Universities and Science Minister, Sam Gyimah, said: The Centres for Doctoral Training are an important platform which will enable budding engineers and scientists to acquire the vital skills and knowledge needed to contribute to tackling future challenges in engineering and physical sciences.

We have a world-leading research and development sector, and through our Industrial Strategy we are increasing R&D spending by £2.3 billion to 2022, ensuring we have the engineers and scientists we need to drive our economy.

EPSRC's Chief Executive, Professor Philip Nelson, said: The Centre for Doctoral training model has proved to be highly popular with institutions, students, industry and academics, as it draws in talent and external support from those with an interest in the field which provides the focus of the Centre. Building on our previous investments, and running in parallel with our Doctoral Training Partnerships, this call will lay the foundations for further collaborations that will supply the country with the skills it needs to carry out world-leading research, make new discoveries and develop novel innovations.

CDTs are one of the three main ways by which EPSRC provides support for Doctoral Training. The other routes are the Doctoral Training Partnerships and Industrial Case Studentships. The call for new Centres will be available from 17 January on the EPSRC website.

EPSRC will welcome applications from eligible institutions that are able to demonstrate the ability to host a CDTs by meeting all the criteria detailed in the call; one aspect of which is a critical mass of supervisors (around 20-40) exists across the partnership of the application.

The call will run over two stages. An outline stage assessed by expert panels and a full proposal stage consisting of external peer review and an interview panel.

Some details of successful outline proposals will be published to enable wider engagement with the user community ahead of the full proposal stage.

Funding decisions are expected to be announced in December 2018 so that successful Centres can begin their preparations for student recruitment in 2019.

The call will have a dual-stream approach as follows:

  • A priority area stream - for excellent proposals delivering against priority areas set out in the call;
  • An open stream - for excellent proposals in areas outside the identified priorities (but still predominantly within the EPS remit) which are best delivered through a CDTs approach.

For further information visit the 2018 CDTs outlines call page.

Notes to editors:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 04-18

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