New engineering and computing PhD places part of major investment

The University is to receive £6m in funding for new PhD places, including a number of engineering and computer science opportunities as part of a major investment in engineering and science in the UK.

The funds, which will support the University’s extensive postgraduate provision, were announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark. They will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through its doctoral training partnerships and are part of a wider £184m fund split between 41 universities.

Following a successful funding bid led by Dr Oliver Harlen, the £6m will support more than 30 new PhD researchers, with several opportunities for engineers and computer scientists. The candidates will start their training in either October 2018 or October 2019 and will all become members of the newly-launched Leeds Doctoral College.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “The announcement of funding for at least 30 PhD places in engineering, physical sciences and environmental sciences at Leeds is welcome recognition of our strength in these important areas, and our role in training the leading scientists and engineers of the future.

The announcement of funding for at least 30 PhD places... is welcome recognition of our strength in these important areas, and our role in training the leading scientists and engineers of the future.

“By creating postgraduate training opportunities for the brightest new researchers to work alongside our world-leading academics, we will enhance our existing research programmes and open up new opportunities to conduct ground-breaking research.”

Mr Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Through our commitment to increasing research and development funding by a further £2.3bn to 2021/22, we are ensuring that the next generation of engineers and scientists will continue to thrive under our modern and ambitious Industrial Strategy.”

Electron beam lithography system

Research facilities in the Faculty of Engineering

School of Computing researcher

Research facilities in the School of Computing

Evidence from the EPSRC shows the role which post-doctoral researchers have in spreading new knowledge and ideas after completing their PhD at university. Around 39 per cent work in business or public services, 39 per cent progress in academia and 22 per cent are in training or work in other sectors.

Postgraduate researchers pursue careers in a wide variety of sectors from advanced materials to healthcare technologies, big data and analytics to manufacturing, and energy.

Professor Roberts added: “The researchers who secure these PhD places will be working in highly interdisciplinary groups on both fundamental and challenge-led research programmes, helping to solve the problems businesses are facing: this is an important role for universities in supporting the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

“This new funding comes from investment related to the Industrial Strategy and at a time when the University of Leeds is making major investments in its infrastructure to support our collaborations with industry.

"In September this year, we open Nexus, our innovation centre that will provide a gateway for businesses to access our world-leading researchers as well as providing first-class space for start-ups and corporate teams.

"In addition, and directly related to the new PhD investments, our £96m Sir William Henry Bragg Building will bring together engineers, physicists, computer scientists and chemists.

The funding is a part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to UK science, with £6.9bn invested in science labs and equipment up to 2021, and protection of the science budget at £4.7bn per year in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.

Further information

Main picture shows a PhD researcher using the University's Faculty of Engineering Visualisation Suite, located in the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems. 

For further details or interview requests, contact Peter Le Riche. 

For further information on applying for a PhD, contact the Faculty of Engineering.

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