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BBSRC commits £26.6M to train hundreds of collaborative PhDs

BBSRC commits £26.6M to train hundreds of collaborative PhDs - 19 December 2013. iStock

BBSRC has committed to spending £26.6M to fund 266 PhD studentships through two industrial training programmes.

Through  Industrial CASE Studentship (iCASE) and  Industrial CASE Partnership(ICP), hundreds of top PhD candidates will have the chance to conduct research at an academic institution and collaborate with an industrial partner. Students must undertake at least a three-month industrial placement – with partners ranging from large companies to smaller SMEs – spending time honing their skills in stimulating environments.

The investment from BBSRC will help ensure that British bioscience remains world leading, and continue to foster strong links between academia, industry and research funders, to benefit the UK both economically and socially through scientific research.

BBSRC has funded 124 Industrial CASE Studentships, to begin in the academic year 2014-2015, at a cost of £12.4M.

In addition, 142 Industrial CASE Partnership (ICP) studentships, allocated over two years, will begin in academic years 2014-2015 and 2015-16, at a total cost of £14.2M.

Both programmes provide high-quality training and develop links between students, academia, industry and other partners.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation and Skills, said: "BBSRC is delighted at the interest shown in these well-established and significant programmes from all the sectors we support, including both large and smaller industries.

"These programmes are vital to develop skills in the next generation of bioscientists who will be researchers and leaders in industry and academia in the future, ensuring that Britain remains a world-leader in excellent bioscience research and its translation to application, thereby bringing social and economic benefits to people around the globe."

Dr Malcolm Skingle, Director of Academic Liaison at GSK, said: "GSK very much values BBSRC's support of CASE over the past couple of decades. The research undertaken by these students underpins much of the drug discovery process.

"Both programmes are a win, win, win; for industry, for academia and of course for students. Many of these bright people will be the research leaders and research directors of the future."

Dr Mike Bushell, Principal Scientific Advisor, Syngenta said: "The CASE scheme is highly valued in Syngenta. It links our scientists to leading academics and provides PhD students with an opportunity to do research in our laboratories, investigating new solutions to the challenges we face in feeding the world. It is also a successful route for future employment in Syngenta."

ENDS

Notes to editors

BBSRC funds collaborative training through two main CASE (previously known as 'Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering') competitions.

iCASE: Industrial CASE Studentships are stand-alone project-specific awards; for further information visit: Iwww.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/training/industrial-case.aspx.

ICP: Industrial CASE Partnerships (ICP) enable companies to better integrate industrial CASE studentships into their planning cycle; for further information visit: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/training/industrial-case-partnerships.aspx. Where possible, the Research Councils aim to harmonise elements of their CASE programmes, and the RCUK Joint Vision for Collaborative Training ( www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/researchcareers/rcdvision.pdf) ensures that those doctoral students embarking on collaborative training programmes between academic and business partners are provided with a first-rate, challenging research training experience.

Joint Vision For Collaborative Training: Research Council Collaborative Training will provide doctoral students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations in the private, public and civil society sectors.

The BBSRC ICP 2014/15 and 2015/16 partners are: