Osborne announces new doctoral training centre for Manchester

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28 Mar 2014

The University of Manchester has been awarded £4.5million to establish a new Centre for Doctoral Training in ‘Materials for Demanding Environments', the Chancellor George Osborne announced today.

Mr Osborne made the statement during a visit to the University’s National Graphene Institute where he signed the beam that will complete the £61million building for the traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony.

The Chancellor, joined at the event by Universities Minister, David Willetts, and the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, Sir Howard Bernstein, among others, were greeted by the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Colin Bailey, and graphene Nobel prize winner, Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov.

The Manchester CDT in Materials for Demanding Environments, one of 22 CDTs announced by Mr Osborne, will equip the academic and industrial leaders of tomorrow with the necessary scientific and commercial skills to introduce the next generation of engineering materials into operation.

Manchester graduates will have an understanding of the mechanisms that control degradation and performance alongside the necessary structural integrity assessment methodologies needed to introduce higher performance materials with predictable safe lifetimes.

Philip Withers, Professor of Materials Science, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this CDT, which will build on our special relationships with industrial partners to provide the highly skilled materials engineers needed by the oil and gas, power generation and aerospace industries to develop the new materials required to operate in increasingly harsh environments.

“This CDT will link up with the University’s BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, Dalton Nuclear Institute and Institute for Aerospace Research to provide our students with access to some of the best facilities in the world for studying materials degradation and performance.”

The new CDTs come on top of the 91 centres – four of them in Manchester – previously announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in November. A fifth Manchester CDT was announced by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) last year too.

EPSRC and other research councils have been able to fund these new CDTs following a £106 million investment announced in the Budget, and by negotiating with universities, industrial partners and the Scottish Funding Council, to maximise the number of centres and the students they will be supporting.

Mr Osborne said: “A forward looking, modern industrial strategy is part of our long-term economic plan to deliver security, jobs and growth to all parts of the UK. Our £500 million investment in Centres for Doctoral Training will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, ensuring Britain leads the world in high-tech research and manufacturing.

This latest Government investment in a further 1,100 students through an additional 22 CDTs, brings the total investment to more than £500 million.

In addition, universities, industry and other charitable partners will be adding a further £70 million to their already large contribution of £374 million to support the training of tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The combined public and private investment amounts to over £950 million.

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of the EPSRC, said: “We have been working hard with universities and partners to ensure that as many centres as possible can be supported. 

“The CDT model has proved highly popular with universities and industry and these new centres will mean that the UK is even better placed to maintain the vital supply of trained scientists and engineers.”


Notes for editors

About Centres for Doctoral Training:

Centres for Doctoral Training are one of the three main ways by which EPSRC provides support for Doctoral Training. The other routes are the Doctoral Training Grant and Industrial Case Studentships. It is anticipated that much of the need for doctoral students in many areas will continue to be met by the DTG and ICASE, which together make up more than 50 per cent of EPSRC’s current spend on studentships.

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 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.

About the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC):

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk

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