Thursday, 31 July 2014
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UK invests £350m in post-graduate training

Details of how a £350m fund will be used to train over 3,500 post graduate students in engineering and physical sciences have been announced today by science minister David Willetts.

The money, the UK’s largest investment in post graduate training in engineering and physical sciences, will fund over 70 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across 24 UK universities.

The targeted funding has been allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and recipients include University College London with seven centres set to receive support.

In a statement, Willetts said: ‘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.

‘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.’

A total of 1,000 partners will be involved in the Centres, leveraging around £250m worth of support. Many of the Centres will involve research that connects to key industries and technologies which are expected to spur innovation and growth.

Sir James Dyson, design engineer and founder of Dyson, whose firm is involved in seven CDTs, said: ‘To compete internationally Britain needs to export world-beating inventions which are the result of intellectual property developed by our companies and universities. 

‘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.’  

Readers' comments (9)

  • Before the Government (on my behalf?) gives any more money to Universities for any technology based purpose, (teaching or research) I would like an accounting of what they have done with the equivalent of £7 billion per annum for the past 50 years (I use that time frame as it was the start of that wonderful moment when the then PM Harold Wilson spoke of the 'white heat of technology'

    I have to point out that in that period, our nation has slipped (no it hasn't slipped, it has plunged!) from about 6th in any global league table to well into the 6th division of football clubs. {Is that an analogy or a simile, I am but a simple Engineer] We may lead the world in popular music culture/in comedy/ in childrens' literature (according to the Olympic Opening Ceremony) and even in weapons and their delivery systems, even in 'hacking' but lead no-one in the manufacture of innovative items for individuals. In heaven's name where did all that effort and money go?

    Mike B

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  • Too little, too late but better than burying heads in quicksand. Create a culture for science, engineering, technology and manufacturing to thrive. Start with schools, advanced apprenticeships, convert FE colleges back into centres of technlogy & really useful learning with elevated's all been said before but no one hears, listens, learns or does anything hugely practical about it.

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  • I'm pleased to say this scheme is excellent. I have had the pleasure of going through this as part of the EngD programme. It is thorough and applied research. It bridges the gap between industry and academia. I recommend it to anyone that gets the opportunity. The funding is only available to British people but you can still go through the scheme if funding is found from elsewhere. The programme is about developing the future leaders of industry and the benefits are going to be noticed immediately and over the long term.

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  • I should add to my previous post that the funding is also available to EU students at British companies.

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  • Very nice to learn of Andy's enthusiasm: and I congratulate him. The only question I have is 'why is there any gap between academia (whatever that is?) and industry.
    Surely 'we are all in this together': and all are part of UK Plc. I look forward to someone -perhaps one of Andy's teachers / mentors- telling me.

    Best wishes for your future career.
    Mike B

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  • There are a lot of inventions and research in universities (academia) that are not exploited by industry. The aim of the programme is to develop research that is directly relevant to industry. Industry gain a researcher, access to tutors and access to the university resources/equipment. In return the university undertake research and receive funding from the government and industry.

    The bridge has been weak because the research lacked industry focus and a drive to exploit this at the end. How many times has a PhD been completed and nothing has come of it at the end? The industrial involvement sees that this research is then put to use.

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  • What, only six comments? I was one of them, anonymously.
    Maybe engineers are a little timid and need 'guiding' out of their protective structures? ;)
    There are many organisations out there for change of one form or another. Perhaps another is needed as in 'Engineers for Change'? Does the IMechE do enough for you?

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  • I fully agree Lizzie. I think there is a fundamental fault in engineering the in UK which is why it struggles to compete against other professions and engineering in other countries. Only this morning did I laugh (and cry) into my breakfast when watching BBC news and a person stating that an engineer could earn £35k PA after 10 years. That is not even a graduate salary for an engineer in other developed countries. Then there are the many ther professions that an engineer could do; accountancy, management, law, finance etc. that are far ahead of that salary within a few years, never mind 10. And they wonder why engineering is struggling to recruit. Attrition is high is high at every engineering company, large and small that I know. No company is gaining more than they are losing.

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  • Good thing..but what about other universities..what is special with UCL..

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