Cross-disciplinary academy founded

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Leeds, Sheffield and York Universities are to launch a £10m cross-disciplinary medical academy in September 2008 to train multi-skilled scientists.

GRADTERM – the Graduate Academy for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine - aims to allow PhD students to integrate their research and skills in life sciences with engineering and physical sciences.

The three universities, known collectively as the White Rose Consortium, won a £6m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund the academy over a five-year period. The remainder of the project is funded by each of the three White Rose Universities, HEFCE and contributions from industry partners involved in regenerative medicine and therapies in the north of England.

‘Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering are huge growth areas and there’s a clear need to build academic capacity,’ said Prof John Fisher, GRADTERM director and deputy vice-chancellor at Leeds. ‘There’s also great demand from industry for well trained engineers and physical scientists with a broad range of skills and knowledge who can work in an interdisciplinary environment.’

The academy will be co-ordinated by Leeds University and will receive 50 PhD students over its funded period. Each student will have two supervisors throughout their studies: one from engineering and physical sciences, the other from biological sciences, providing a unique perspective on their work. The first year of the four-year programmes will be spent in general training, with students then being placed in existing research groups in one of the three universities.