AMRC launches one of five centres for Industrial Doctorates

A new specialist centre will help the brightest engineering postgraduates work with industry to develop new machining technologies and skills, its proponents have claimed.

The Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) will be operated jointly by two University of Sheffield groups: the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It will provide engineering doctorate (EngD) training with a focus on machining science.

The Sheffield IDC is one of five nationwide which have secured stimulus funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as parts of its manufacturing strategy. The research council is providing £1.25 million towards launch costs, with the remainder coming from the universities and industrial partners.

The other IDCs, all focused on materials, mechanical and medical engineering, are based at the University of Strathclyde Advanced Forming Research Centre; the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Nottingham, Birmingham and Loughborough Universities; Warwick University's Manufacturing Group; and Swansea University's College of Engineering.

The industrial doctorate combines taught modules to bring students up to best industrial practice, with original research based on real business problems, brought together under a common theme. The aim is to provide talented postgraduate engineers who want a career in industry with a vocationally-oriented alternative to the traditional PhD.

The Sheffield IDC will be based at the AMRC's facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, and is supported by global businesses including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Messier-Dowty, and local manufacturers such as Technicut and Dormer Tools. It will take in an initial five postgraduate students per year for four years, with each studying for four years of fully-funded research. Once the centre is established, it will be able to take up to 20 students per year.

Announcing the new IDCs during a visit to Loughborough University, David Willetts MP, the Minister for Universities and Science, said: "These new centres will generate a new wave of engineers with the knowledge and skills needed to become future business leaders and create new innovation and economic growth for the UK.

"They focus on key areas of advanced manufacturing, which are vital to the UK's major industrial sectors including the aerospace and automotive industry. These talented young innovators will help fuel future economic growth for the UK."

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