Aston to benefit from £204 million government investment

Catalysis research at Aston University
10 March 2016

Science minister Jo Johnson has announced that Aston is to receive funding as part of two major investments in science and engineering research totaling £204 million.

Aston University will receive £778,552 and is one of forty UK universities who are to share a £167 million allocation that will support doctoral training over a two year period. A further £37 million is to be put into developing the graduate skills, specialist equipment and facilities that will put UK Quantum Technologies research at the forefront of the field.

The funds for doctoral training will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which has changed how funding is allocated through its Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

The DTP funds will support students for the academic years beginning October 2016 and 2017. The changes have been made to give institutions greater certainty and increased time to plan their DTP programmes.

The Quantum Technologies funding is split between three Quantum Training & Skills Hubs in Quantum Systems Engineering, and seven strategic capital investment packages. The Hubs will receive £12 million and £25 million will be allocated via capital.

Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson, said: “We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation, and supporting the vital work of scientists in Aston University is key to this. This ££778,552of funding for Aston University will enable them to take on more Doctoral students to support their most promising research, leading to new discoveries and commercial partnerships. It will also give more students the chance to study at PhD level, boosting high level skills in science and engineering and supporting jobs and growth.” 

Professor Ian Nabney, Deputy Dean for Research, Enterprise and International, School of Engineering & Applied Science at Aston University, said:“This announcement that Aston is to receive access to EPSRC doctoral training partnership funding is fantastic news for the University and further demonstrates the University’s commitment to translational and collaborative research. The funding will ensure we are able to invest in the next generation of researchers in pioneering fields and priority areas for Aston University including Bioenergy and Catalysis, Power Energy and Power Systems, Photonic Materials and System Analytics. It will also support multidisciplinary research into Anti-microbial Resistance and Servitisation.”

EPSRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Philip Nelson, said: “This year we are allocating £167 million to universities via Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). These will cover a two year period and give institutions greater certainty and increased time to plan their DTP programmes, and support excellent doctoral students. In addition, we are investing in training and providing capital for research to ensure that the National Quantum Technologies Programme can make the most of the country’s research talents. These strategic investments will help science push at the boundaries and make discoveries that are taken through into innovations.” 

The funding is a part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to UK science, with a record £6.9 billion invested in science labs and equipment up to 2021, and protection of the science budget at £4.7 billion per year in real terms for the rest of the parliament. 

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For further information, please contact Louise Ciaravella, University Communications on 0121 204 4637 or

Notes to editors:

Doctoral Training Partnerships
This year 40 universities will benefit from the Doctoral Training Partnership funding, which ranges from £489,000 to nearly £18.5 million. The DTPs are awarded to universities for the provision of doctoral study and are allocated on the basis of EPSRC research grant income, and fellowships. They were previously known as Doctoral Training Grants. 

The flexibility of the DTP allows universities to leverage funds, for example from industry, and potentially support higher numbers of students. Previous use of DTP has resulted in award-winning research papers that have sparked further investment in research from industrial partners and other international funding bodies. 

The grants allow institutions to be flexible in terms of student recruitment and retention, and enable them to vary the length of support (between three and four years) dependent on the project. 

The 2016 DTP’s have been awarded to the following 40 universities: 

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.