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Royal Holloway and Imperial receive £4.5 million to fund 45 PhDs

Posted on 24/01/2012

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has awarded approximately £4.5million to Royal Holloway, University of London, Imperial College, London and Research Complex at Harwell to establish a joint Doctoral Training Partnership.

The funding is part of a £67 million investment in postgraduate training and development in the biosciences announced by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts today, (Tuesday 24 January) which will support 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships across the country.

The Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) funding for Royal Holloway and Imperial will pay for a total of 45 four-year studentships to be allocated over the academic years 2012-13, 2013-2013 and 2014-15.

Royal Holloway and Imperial will aim to provide research-led training with a focus on the development of quantitative, technological and bioscience skills. It will draw on each institution’s shared experience of interdisciplinary approaches to research, encouraging interaction between students on the programme. It will also encourage the partnership to engage with the areas linked to the BBSRC’s strategic research training priorities such as food security, Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology, basic Bioscience underpinning health and world class research underpinning bioscience. 

Professor Alan Gange, Head of the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, said: “We are delighted that Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway is part of this successful bid with Imperial and Harwell. It confirms our position among the leading bioscience departments in the UK and provides a magnificent opportunity to progress collaborative work with our partners. Furthermore, it will establish us as a leader in the critical areas of food security and biotechnology research.”

Imperial’s academic lead on the project, Professor Martin Buck from the Department of Life Sciences, said: “Doctoral students increasingly play a major role in the interface between different research disciplines. Being able to cross these interfaces is in many cases key to how we tackle major research challenges in the basic and applied sciences. Interdisciplinary approaches lie at the heart of our Doctoral Training Partnership with Royal Holloway, and will help ensure we develop a new generation of scientists with the expertise and scope to truly innovate in their work.”

The DTPs represent a new, more strategic approach from BBSRC to deliver highly skilled scientists for the UK research base. Taken as a whole, the DTP programme will deliver scientists with the training to meet major social and economic challenges in food security, sustainable bioenergy and renewable materials and improving lifelong health and wellbeing, as well as supporting those undertaking research in core underpinning bioscience.

Announcing the establishment of the DTPs David Willetts said: “The announcement of this forward thinking DTP programme is good news for research organisations and PhD students today, as well as for industry and the UK as a whole in the future with the brightest minds setting about finding solutions to some of the biggest global challenges facing us all, from food security through to renewable energy.”

An innovative and integral element of the programme, built in to enhance the employability of the DTP students, is the requirement for them to undertake a three- month professional internship outside of the lab to widen their experience of the areas of work in which they can apply their PhD skills and training. Destinations for these internships will include policymaking, media, teaching and industry.  


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