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.’