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Durham University News


Durham University to share £9m investment in postgraduate training in biosciences

(27 January 2012)

Durham University is to share in a £9m investment for postgraduate training and development in biosciences.

Durham is part of a joint Doctoral Training Parternship (DTP) with Newcastle and Liverpool universities which will benefit from the investment announced by the Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

The award will further strengthen research links and support 15 PhD studentships plus five undergraduate summer bursaries between the three institutions in areas of research including food security and health.

The Durham/Newcastle/Liverpool collaboration will receive £4.5million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and another £4.5million from other sources.

Professor Tom McLeish, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), at Durham University, said: "Each year the University invests millions of pounds in funding opportunities to enable the most talented postgraduate students from across the world to realise their potential with us.

"Research and teaching is at the core of what we do at Durham and this announcement will allow us to continue to invest in world-class bioscience skills and training, in collaboration with our partners."

Professor Barry Hirst of Newcastle University and lead for the Doctoral Training Partnership, said: "Training will focus on our world-class research in national strategically important research areas, including into lifelong health and wellbeing, diet and health, microbial food safety, animal health and welfare, and crop science.

"It will bring top-class scientists from all over the country and further afield to train in the north-east."

In total David Willetts announced £67million of new investment in postgraduate training and development in the biosciences nationally. The investment, from the BBSRC, includes support for 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) across the UK as well as a number of industrial CASE (iCASE) studentship awards.

Over the next three years, the DTPs will support 660 four-year PhD students. In addition the iCASE studentships will support 70 postgraduates from this Autumn.

Mr Willetts said: "The brightest and best students will be finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing us all, from food security through to renewable energy.

"The partnership approach means that many institutions are combining their strengths to provide students with improved training and relevant work experience. This will better equip them for future careers, be it in research, industry, or elsewhere."

To enhance their employability, DTP students will 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.

The BBSRC will be working closely with each DTP to support the delivery of excellent training and facilitate the development of a cohort of highly skilled BBSRC early career scientists.

To provide greater support for the research training costs of each student, and to recognise rising research inflation, BBSRC is awarding significantly higher research training grants for each student of £5,000 per student, per year.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and Skills said: "We believe that this approach is a great way of doing things, enabling us to support the very best students working in the most important areas from food security through to crucial underpinning bioscience."

For more information about the Doctoral Training Partnership and studentship opportunities visit:

For more information about postgraduate study in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Durham University visit:

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