UK universities awarded £204m to support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences


The UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced on Tuesday that UK universities will receive GBP204m in funding to train PhD students in engineering and physical sciences, as well as provide support for cutting-edge research.

A GBP167m investment will be made in Doctoral Training Partnerships, along with a GBP37m investment in Britain’s National Quantum Technologies Programme. The government expects the funding for quantum technologies to further boost the UK’s leading position in creating new technologies. Quantum technologies use advanced physics to deliver products that range from more accurate brain-scanning and earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis to smaller and more powerful computers.

A total of 40 universities, including Southampton, Aberdeen, Cardiff and Belfast, will be awarded Doctoral Training Partnerships. These will provide Doctoral study opportunities for about 2,000 students with the intention of nurturing scientific and engineering talent in the UK. More research support will also enable universities to develop new ideas, allowing them to leverage future funding from business and deliver new methods and understanding.

Funding for the National Quantum Technologies Programme includes an investment of GBP25m in new equipment at seven university-based quantum institutions, along with GBP12m to help train researchers who are starting out on careers in quantum engineering. This latest investment in UK science is a part of the government’s ongoing commitment to the sector. GBP6.9bn will be invested in science labs and equipment up to 2021, along with protection of the science budget reaching GBP4.7bn per year in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson made the announcement at the University of Oxford’s Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub and said:

“We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers which scientists are working on in Oxford. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Louise Richardson, commented:

“Quantum technologies promise to revolutionise the way we live our lives. At Oxford we stand at the forefront of this revolution through our world-class research and training programmes. It is a pleasure to welcome the minister to Oxford to announce support for this key research area, as well as sizeable funding for doctoral places in physics and engineering that will help us continue to train the leading scientists of the future.”