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Major boost to drive productivity for sustainable growth


The next generation of research and innovation leaders will be supported through a major £179 million investment announced today – including PhD programmes at Brunel University London that will drive forward British research and innovation in green technologies.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced that forty-one universities will host Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) managed by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

DTPs are flexible investments in doctoral training at universities which support postgraduates to conduct research across the physical sciences, maths and engineering.

EPSRC supports about 10,000 doctoral students through DTPs, Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (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 training or work in other sectors.

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said: “Doctoral training is a vital element of the UK’s talent pipeline, providing thousands of researchers and innovators with the skills they need to succeed and deliver benefits for the UK.

“EPSRC’s Doctoral Training Partnerships spark valuable contributions between academia and industry, generating impact in areas as diverse as improved engine design, clean water treatment and cybersecurity.”

Four Doctoral Mobility Pilots have been announced to test new approaches to attracting and supporting people from non-academic backgrounds to undertake doctoral study. They aim to support social and career mobility by reducing barriers to entry to doctoral training from different groups and providing opportunities for lifelong learning.  

Leaders in sustainable technology

One of these Doctoral Mobility Pilots will be led by Brunel, working with industrial partners including Constellium and TWI. The project, titled ‘Driving productivity for sustainable growth – An industry-focused engineering doctoral training project for leaders in sustainable technology’, aims to foster sustainability leadership in the UK as part of the move to Net Zero by developing future cohorts of engineers with the skills, experience and knowledge to drive research and innovation in sustainable technologies.

The other Doctoral Mobility Pilots will be based at Queen Mary, University of London; the University of Southampton; and the University of York.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the funding as part of a major investment which also included the first Stephen Hawking Fellows and funding to improve and boost uptake of science subjects at school.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “From Ada Lovelace to Stephen Hawking, our scientists and the discoveries they have made have pushed the boundaries, improving our healthcare and transforming the way we live, work and travel.

 “Today’s funding will support the talented people we have in this country to study these vital subjects, develop technologies for the future and support the UK’s status as a science superpower.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Making sure that the next generation has the scientific skills to meet the world’s needs – from developing green technologies to curing illnesses – couldn’t be more important.

 “That’s why we continue to invest in science programmes in our schools and ensure that anyone, regardless of their background, can participate.

 “Girls now make up just over half of A level entries for the three core science subjects but there is more we can do so we will fund research to better understand how we can improve girls’ physics A level participation.”

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