£832 million funding for UK engineering and research announced by EPSRC

The UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced new funding to, “ensure the next generation of doctoral level students are equipped to tackle research and innovation challenges across the engineering and physical sciences landscape.”

As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the organization directing research and innovation funding in the UK, EPSRC has announced a funding package that will support PhD research and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across the UK – including research supporting the advance of additive manufacturing.

The total package of £832 million is made up of £444 million from the EPSRC, £2.2 million from The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and £385.8 million from approximately 1400 industry partners – this later amount is a mix of cash and in-kind benefits.

The jobs of tomorrow

Science and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore said, “As we explore new research to boost our economy with an increase of over £7 billion invested in R&D over five years to 2021/22 – the highest increase for over 40 years – we will need skilled people to turn ideas into inventions that can have a positive impact on our daily lives.”

“The Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the country will offer the next generation of PhD students the ability to get ahead of the curve. In addition, this has resulted in nearly £400 million being leveraged from industry partners. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action, ensuring all corners of the UK thrive with the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. As Science Minister, I’m delighted we’re making this massive investment in postgraduate students as part of our increased investment in R&D.”

Over the past 25 years the EPSRC has supported over 50,000 doctoral students. Funding also supports work at leading additive manufacturing centres such as the University of Nottingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Building.

Robots at work in the Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing (CfAM) housed within the AMB. Photo via the University of Nottingham.
Robots at work in the Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing (CfAM) housed within the AMB. Photo via the University of Nottingham.

UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, “Highly talented people are required to tackle key global challenges such as sustainable energy and cyber security, and provide leadership across industries and our public services.

“Centres for Doctoral Training provide them with the support, tools and training they need to succeed, and the involvement of 1,400 project partners underlines how much industry and the charity sector value this approach.”

Imperial College London is one beneficiary of the funds, where hundreds of PhD students will be trained a six new centres. Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial, said: “I am very pleased that we will be leading six centres that will train around 300 PhD students in the coming years.

“We are also partnering in six more centres led by other institutions, highlighting our collaborative nature and wide participation across the scheme. We are also pleased to support the centres with £1m of bursary support from the College to support their important activities.”

Professor Oscar Ces, director of Imperial’s Department of Chemistry leads one of the CDTs renewed by the latest funding. With a focus on innovation in the life sciences the CDT looks at new molecules, new measurement tools and novel calculation and modelling approaches. The Chemical Biology Innovation for the Life Sciences CDT will combine tools and technologies, “with breakthroughs in the fourth industrial revolution, such as automation and additive manufacturing, the CDT aims to train PhD graduates able to embrace the industrialisation of the life sciences.”

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