Over 70 new training centres will be established across the UK to train postgraduates to work in science and engineering disciplines, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced today.
The EPSCR will provide £350m of funding to establish Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) at 24 UK universities, aiming to improve work-based skills and knowledge the postgraduates need to pursue careers in industries that are key for economic growth.
"Centres for Doctoral Training have already proved to be a great success and the model is popular with students, business and industry,” said EPSRC chair Paul Golby. “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.”
More than 3,500 post graduate students could benefit from the funding, which is said to be the largest investment into the training of the UK’s engineering postgraduates.
"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,” said the UK’s Science Minister David Willetts, who will officially introduce the funding today at a press conference at the top of the BT Tower in London.
"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," he said.
A total of 1000 partners will be involved in the Centres, leveraging in around £250m worth of support.
“To compete internationally Britain needs to export world-beating inventions which are the result of intellectual property developed by our companies and universities,” said Sir James Dyson, design engineer and founder of Dyson, whose firm is involved in seven CDTs. “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.”
The EPSRC’s CEO, Professor David Delpy and BT’s Research MD, Tim Whitley will officially sign a Memorandum of Understanding today to cement the joint venture.
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.