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Cambridge receives new funding to support PhD students in science and engineering


The funding, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industrial and institutional partners, will support the establishment of five new CDTs at Cambridge. The University will be a partner institution in an additional four new CDTs. The results of the latest CDT funding round were announced today by EPSRC at an event in London.

In total, EPSRC is supporting 75 new CDTs across the UK, representing a total investment of £446 million. The Centres’ 1,400 project partners have contributed £386 million in cash and in-kind support, and include companies such as Tata Steel and Procter and Gamble and charities such as Cancer Research UK. The funding represents one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills.

Science and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore said: “As we explore new research to boost our economy with an increase of over £7 billion invested in R&D over five years to 2021/22 – the highest increase for over 40 years – we will need skilled people to turn ideas into inventions that can have a positive impact on our daily lives.

“The Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the country will offer the next generation of PhD students the ability to get ahead of the curve. In addition, this has resulted in nearly £400 million being leveraged from industry partners. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action, ensuring all corners of the UK thrive with the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

“As Science Minister, I’m delighted we’re making this massive investment in postgraduate students as part of our increased investment in R&D.”

CDT students are funded for four years and the programme includes technical and transferrable skills training as well as a research element. The centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to provide engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues and future challenges.

The importance of developing STEM skills is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, ensuring that all areas of the UK embrace innovation and build the skills the economy needs to thrive.

The five Cambridge-led CDTs are:

  • CDT in Future Propulsion and Power, led by Dr Graham Pullan (Department of Engineering)
  • CDT in Integrated Functional Nano (i4Nano), led by Professor Jeremy Baumberg (Department of Physics)
  • CDT in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2), led by Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa (Department of Engineering)
  • CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, led by Professor Clemens Kaminski (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)
  • CDT in Automated Chemical Synthesis Enabled by Digital Molecular Technologies, led by Professor Matthew Gaunt (Department of Chemistry)

The first cohort of students in the new CDTs will begin their studies in October.

Professor Lynn Gladden, EPSRC’s Executive Chair, said: The UK’s research base makes the discoveries that lead to innovations and these can improve lives and generate income for the UK. Centres for Doctoral Training have already proven to be successful in attracting the world’s brightest minds and industry support to address the scientific and engineering challenges we face. This new cadre will continue to build on previous investment.”

The University of Cambridge has received new government and industrial funding to support at least 350 PhD students over the next eight years, via the creation of new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). 

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