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UK-Ireland joint initiative to invest €38.6m in training students

EPSRC-SFI Centres for Doctoral Training to link world-leading SFI Research Centres and UK Higher Education Institutions

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced an investment of approximately €39 million to support the involvement of SFI Research Centres in seven new joint Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). The awards have been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The CDTs represent one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills, supporting over seventy centres that will equip the next generation of doctoral level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. The seven joint awards between Ireland and the UK will enable doctoral students based in Irish institutions to benefit from training opportunities and collaboration with Higher Education Institutions in the UK. 

Welcoming the seven awards made to SFI Research Centres, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said:“I am pleased to announce this new collaboration that will provide training opportunities for doctoral students in both the UK and Ireland. These new PhD training initiatives will provide opportunities for talented students in SFI Research Centres across Higher Education Institutions. Cultivating and maintaining positive research and development collaborations between Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of the world, is a priority for the Irish Government, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is thrilled to be working with the EPSRC on this programme.”

 Under the EPSRC-SFI partnership, Science Foundation Ireland will fund students based at an SFI Research Centre who will be integrated into the CDT, with training taking place in both the UK and Ireland. These joint activities will establish and strengthen collaborations at student, supervisor and institutional levels.

 The successful Centres will focus on cohort-based doctoral training and cover a wide range of fields, from Advanced Data Storage to Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies.The seven UK-Ireland collaborations are:

  • IPIC, the SFI Research Centre for Photonics with Queens University Belfast and University of Glasgow: EPSRC CDT in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage
  • I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing with University of Sheffield and University of Manchester: EPSRC CDT in Advanced Metallic Systems: Metallurgical Challenges for the Digital Manufacturing Environment
  • CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices with University of Glasgow, Aston University and University of Birmingham: EPSRC CDT in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine
  • SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals with University of Nottingham and University College London: EPSRC CDT in Transformative      Pharmaceutical Technologies
  • MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy with University College London and Loughborough University: EPSRC CDT in Energy Resilience      and the Built Environment
  • AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials with Imperial College London and University College London: EPSRC CDT in Advanced      Characterisation of Materials
  • BEACON, the SFI Research Centre for the Bioeconomy with University of Nottingham: EPSRC CDT: Atoms-to-Products an Integrated Approach to Sustainable Chemistry

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said:“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to collaborate with EPSRC on this excellent programme. Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships. The level of investment in the Centres for Doctoral Training is significant, and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers. I would like to congratulate the seven SFI Research Centres on their success in this programme and look forward to working with EPSRC over the coming years.”


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Editor’s Notes

About Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is the national foundation for investment in scientific and engineering research. Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports STEM education and engagement, and creates awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and to the growth of the economy. 

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation.

Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.

Centres for Doctoral Training

CDTs 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 train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, build relationships between teams in universities and forge lasting links with industry.