£184m investment in doctoral training announced

Aston among UK universities to get funding for training more PhD researchers
Aston among UK universities to get funding for training more PhD researchers

2 February 2018

  • 41 UK universities to share £184m investment in science and engineering research
  • Aston University awarded almost £500,000 to support doctoral researchers
  • Funding will support students entering training from October 2018

Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced a major investment in science and engineering research totalling £184 million. Aston University is among 41 UK universities to share the funding to support doctoral training over a four year period.

Aston will receive almost half a million pounds to support its growing population of doctoral researchers in engineering and physical sciences.   

The Business Secretary made the announcement during a visit to YASA Motors in Oxford - a spin-out from the University of Oxford - where he opened a new production facility  on 1 February.

The funds for doctoral training will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through its Doctoral Training Partnerships and will support students entering training in the academic years beginning October 2018 and October 2019.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:“Doctoral Training Partnerships have an excellent record of providing universities with funding that supports doctoral students as they undertake ground-breaking research. This research and expertise underpins the creation of innovative companies like YASA Motors.

“Through our commitment to increasing research and development funding by a further £2.3 billion to 2021/22, we are ensuring that the next generation of engineers and scientists will continue to thrive under our modern and ambitious Industrial Strategy.”

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Executive Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, said: “We welcome this funding of £496,616 which will support our rapidly growing population of doctoral researchers in engineering and physical sciences.

“Here at Aston we have a vibrant research culture and our commitment to nurturing and to supporting this culture can be seen through our decision to invest in around 14 studentships on top of the seven provided by the Doctoral Training Partnerships. The students will work in key areas of research such as photonics and sensing, Artificial Intelligence, clean energy and materials.”

EPSRC supports 9,000 post-doctoral students each year across UK universities via Doctoral Training Partnerships, Centres for Doctoral Training or Industrial Case studentships.

After completing PhDs around 39 per cent of doctoral students go on to be employed in business or public services, 39 per cent go on to work in academia and 22 per cent continue training or work in other sectors.

Students pursue careers in a wide variety of sectors from advanced materials to healthcare technologies, big data and analytics to manufacturing and energy.

EPSRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Philip Nelson, said: “This year we are allocating £184 million to universities via Doctoral Training Partnerships. These will cover a two year period, giving institutions certainty and time to plan their programmes, and support excellent doctoral students.

“The partnerships have produced some outstanding examples of new thinking and helped further the careers of a new generation of researchers who will be the leaders of the future.”

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. 


Notes to the editor

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP)  This year 41 universities will benefit from the Doctoral Training Partnership funding, which ranges from £477,000 to £15.5 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 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)  As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, the EPSRC’s 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, EPSRC is building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Its portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research funded 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.

For more information go to the website: www.epsrc.ac.uk

Aston University  Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

For further information contact the EPSRC’s press office on 01793 444 404 or email pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

For media inquiries relating to Aston University contact the media team on 0121 204 4978 / 4592 or email pr@aston.ac.uk 

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