Willetts announces £350 million for PhD training in over 70 new centres

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David Willetts standing behind a podium giving a speech at event

Over 70 new centres to train tomorrow’s engineers and scientists

Details of how a £350 million fund will be used to train over 3,500 postgraduate students in engineering and physical sciences, will be announced today by Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts.

This is the UK's largest investment in postgraduate training in engineering and physical sciences. It will fund over seventy new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), spread across 24 UK universities.

The funding, targeted at areas vital to economic growth, has been allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Science Minister David Willetts said: Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills, that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.

I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.

A total of 1000 partners will be involved in the Centres, leveraging in around £250 million worth of support. Many of the Centres will involve research that connects to key industries and important technologies which will aid innovation and growth. A number of the other Research Councils, including the Medical Research Council and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, are also contributing towards Centres with key relevance to their fields of research. EPSRC may announce a further group of Centres if more resource can be secured.

Today’s announcement takes place at a press conference at the top of BT Tower in London where a number of CDTs Directors, students and industry representatives will be on hand to talk with media. BT is involved in seven CDTs, providing both financial and partnership support.

Paul Golby, EPSRC’s Chair, said: Centres for Doctoral Training have already proved to be a great success and the model is popular with students, business and industry. These new centres will give the country the highly trained scientists and engineers it needs and they will be equipped with skills to move on in their careers. The standard of applications for Centres was very high and more could have been funded if we had the capacity.

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Sir James Dyson, design engineer and founder of Dyson, whose firm is involved in seven CDTs, said: To compete internationally Britain needs to export world-beating inventions which are the result of intellectual property developed by our companies and universities. We must support British engineers and scientists at all levels, rewarding them properly for their work. This investment is heartening, but genuine research and development takes time. Continuing robust investment is required if we are to see the breakthroughs which will deliver the growth we require.

As part of the event EPSRC’s Chief Executive (CEO), Professor David Delpy and BT’s Research MD, Tim Whitley will officially sign a Memorandum of Understanding to cement collaborative working.

This much closer relationship will help to ensure that long-term pre-competitive research in priority areas, which align with EPSRC and BT’s strategies, delivers not just academic excellence, but high levels of economic and societal impact.

Please note: Members of the press intending to attend the press conference should contact EPSRC in advance as security at the BT Tower is strict and names have to be submitted in advance and photo id presented before entry.

Notes for Editors

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Centres for Doctoral Training

Centres for Doctoral Training are one of the three main ways by which EPSRC provides support for Doctoral Training. The other routes are the Doctoral Training Grant and Industrial Case Studentships. It is anticipated that much of the need for doctoral students in many areas will continue to be met by the DTG and International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE), which together make up more than 50 percent of EPSRC’s current spend on studentships.

CDTs students are funded for four years and the programme includes technical and transferrable skills training as well as a research element. The centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, build relationships between teams in universities and forge lasting links with industry.

Medical Research Council 

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health. Twenty-nine MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes in a wide range of disciplines, and MRC scientists have been behind such diverse discoveries as vitamins, the structure of DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) and the link between smoking and cancer, as well as achievements such as pioneering the use of randomised controlled trials, the invention of Magnetic resonance imaging scanning, and the development of a group of antibodies used in the making of some of the most successful drugs ever developed. Today, MRC-funded scientists tackle some of the greatest health problems facing humanity in the 21st century, from the rising tide of chronic diseases associated with ageing to the threats posed by rapidly mutating micro-organisms.

MRC Centenary Timeline

The MRC Centenary Timeline chronicles 100 years of life-changing discoveries and shows how our research has had a lasting influence on healthcare and wellbeing in the UK and globally, right up to the present day.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £467 million (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.

 

For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.

List of 72 centres to be supported

University Applicant Title Notes
University of Bath Professor Phil Willis EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Entertainment  
University of Bath Professor Matthew Davidson EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies  
University of Birmingham Professor Robert Steinberger-Wilckens EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels - Clean Power for the 21st Century  
University of Birmingham Professor Michael Hannon EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Physical Sciences for Health (Sci-Phy-4-Health)  
University of Bristol Professor Paul Weaver EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science  
University of Bristol Professor Ivana Partridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Composites Manufacture  
University of Bristol Professor David Bull EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Communications 2: Training Tomorrow's Internet Innovators  
University of Bristol Dr Arthur Richards EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems - FARSCOPE  
University of Bristol Professor Kevin Booker-Milburn EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Synthesis  
University of Bristol Dr Terence McMaster EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Functional Materials: The BCFN  
University of Bristol Dr Mark Thompson EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Engineering  
University of Cambridge Professor Michael Payne EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science  
University of Cambridge Professor Robert James Mair EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment  
University of Cambridge Dr Robert Miller EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics  
University of Cambridge Professor William O'Neill EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Ultra Precision  
University of Cambridge Professor Andrea Ferrari EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology  
University of Cambridge Professor Jeremy Baumberg EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable and Functional Nano  
University of Edinburgh Professor Chris Williams EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science  
University of Edinburgh Professor Michael O'Boyle EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism  
University of Exeter Professor John Sambles EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Electromagnetic Metamaterials  
University of Exeter Professor Dragan Savic EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Informatics: Science and Engineering (WISE)  
University of Leeds Professor Jenny Jones EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy  
University of Leeds Professor Peter Jimack EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics at Leeds  
University of Leicester Professor Hongbiao Dong EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Metal Processing (CIMP)  
University of Liverpool Professor Ken Durose EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable PV  
The University of Manchester Professor Cay Kielty EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine Jointly supported with MRC
The University of Manchester Professor Francis Livens EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Nuclear Fission- Next Generation Nuclear  
The University of Manchester Professor Peter Crossley EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Power Networks at The University of Manchester  
The University of Manchester Dr Irina Grigorieva EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Science and Applications of Graphene and Related Nanomaterials (GrapheneNOWNANO)  
University of Nottingham Professor Cameron Alexander EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics & Nanomedicines  
University of Nottingham Professor Steve Benford EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in My Life in Data  
University of Nottingham Dr Christopher Tuck EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing  
University of Nottingham Dr Christopher Moody EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry  
University of Oxford Professor Colin Please EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industrially Focused Mathematical Modelling  
University of Oxford Professor Charlotte Deane EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science Jointly supported by MRC
University of Oxford Professor Christopher Holmes EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Statistical Science: the Oxford-Warwick Statistics Programme Jointly supported by MRC
University of Oxford Professor Gui-Qiang George Chen EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Partial Differential Equations: Analysis and Applications  
University of Oxford Professor Darren Dixon EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthesis for Biology and Medicine  
University of Oxford Professor David Logan EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences  
University of Sheffield Professor Robert Dwyer-Joyce EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribology  
University of Sheffield Professor Keith Ridgway EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Machining Science  
University of Sheffield Professor Steven Armes EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids  
University of Southampton Professor Hans Fangohr EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling  
University of Strathclyde Professor Stephen McArthur EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks and Smart Grids - a partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Imperial College London  
University of Strathclyde Professor Patrica Connolly EPSRC CDTs in Medical Devices and Health Technologies  
University of Strathclyde Professor William Leithead EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems  
University of Warwick Professor Alison Rodger EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Analytical Science  
University of Warwick Professor Mark Newton EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Diamond Science and Technology  
University of Warwick Professor Robert MacKay EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Mathematics for Real-World Systems Jointly supported with BBSRC
University of Warwick Professor Stephen Jarvis EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Urban Science and Progress  
University of York Professor Peter Cowling EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games & Game Intelligence (IGGI)  
Cardiff University Professor Graham Hutchings EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Catalysis - Cardiff University, University of Bath and University of Bristol  
Durham University Professor Tom McLeish EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces  
Heriot-Watt University Professor David Lane EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) in Edinburgh (Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh)  
Heriot-Watt University Professor Derryck Reid The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics  
Imperial College London Dr Oscar Ces EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Physical Sciences Innovation in Chemical Biology for Bioindustry and Healthcare  
Imperial College London Professor Peter Haynes EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Theory and Simulation of Materials  
Imperial College London Professor Dan Crisan EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Mathematics of Planet Earth at Imperial College London and the University of Reading  
Imperial College London Professor John Vassilicos EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics across Scales  
Imperial College London Dr Simon Schultz EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology for Life and Health  
Imperial College London Professor Wayne Luk EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in High Performance Embedded and Distributed Systems  
Imperial College London Professor Myungshik Kim EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Controlled Quantum Dynamics  
King's College London Professor Tobias Richard Schaeffter EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging at King's College London and Imperial College London  
Lancaster University Professor Jonathan Tawn EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistics & Operational Research in Partnership with Industry (STOR-i)  
Newcastle University Professor Patrick Olivier EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics  
University College London (UCL) Professor Robert Lowe EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand (LoLo)  
University College London (UCL) Professor Gary Lye EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership Jointly supported with BBSRC
University College London (UCL) Professor Michael Singer EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Geometry and Number Theory at the Interface  
University College London (UCL) Professor Alwyn Seeds EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems  
University College London (UCL) Professor Sebastien Ourselin EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging  
University College London (UCL) Professor May Cassar EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology  
University College London (UCL) Professor Nora De Leeuw EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science