Government cash boost for Durham University students

Durham University has received £1.2 million in Government funding to support PhD students in science and engineering

Dozens of PHD students will be funded by the research cash
PHD students at Durham University will benefit from the £1.2m Government funding

A North East university is taking on more postgraduate science and engineering students after being awarded £1.2m in Government funding.

Durham University has received the grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for postgraduate research and training to support PhD students.

Dr Nadja Reissland, deputy head of the science faculty at Durham University, said: “It is crucial to keep investing in new generations of scientists who can develop new solutions to problems and increase our understanding of challenges we face in the world today.

“At Durham, we are committed to training the very best students to carry out high quality research and funding like this helps us to do just that.”

The EPSRC is investing £83.5 million in total through its Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

The DTPs are awarded to universities each year for the provision of postgraduate study and were previously known as Doctoral Training Grants.

The grants allow universities to be flexible in terms of student recruitment and retention, and enable them to vary the length of support – between three and four years – dependant on the project.

Announcing the funding from the EPSRC, Universities and Science minister David Willetts, said: “This significant investment shows that the UK is committed to top quality postgraduate research and training.

“Our future as a leading science and engineering nation is dependent on fostering the talent we have in our universities, this investment will reap rewards in the academic and economic arenas and provide us with a wealth of skilled people able to tackle global challenges, from infrastructure planning to public health.”

This year, 38 universities will benefit from the DTP funding, which ranges from £300,000 to nearly £8 million.

The flexibility of the DTP allows universities to leverage funds, for example from industry, and potentially support higher numbers of students.

Universities will be able to take advantage of the scheme to offer doctoral prizes to EPSRC-supported students. EPSRC is the country’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.

It invests around £800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

The areas covered range from IT to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science.

Meanwhile, work on Newcastle’s pioneering Discovery School, which will offer 14 to 19-year-olds in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland an education focussed on the STEM subjects, is well advanced.

Science, technology, engineering and maths will be at the heart of everything it does as it aims to prepare young people for higher education and careers in these growing sectors.

The school, which open in September, will operate more like a business, with the majority of lessons taking a practical form in labs and workshops, rather than classrooms, and with longer days and less homework.

Key businesses in the engineering and science sectors are working on the curriculum with Discovery School to ensure it is relevant to today’s needs and is as challenging as possible.

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