22 November 2013 09:37

Lancaster University is to share in a total of £350m in the UK’s largest ever investment in postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences.

Highly skilled statisticians, operational researchers, nuclear engineers and specialist physicists with a working knowledge of wonder-material Graphene are all in short supply in the UK and Lancaster is one of 24 successful universities to be awarded funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to fill that gap. 

Announcing the funding for over 70 Centres for Doctoral Training in the UK, Science and Universities Minister  David  Willetts said: “Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills, that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.

“I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.”

Lancaster University will be delivering Doctoral Training in three distinct areas.

  • STOR-i (Statistics and Operational Research in Partnership with Industry) is a Centre for Doctoral Training which will develop highly employable people with a proven capacity for delivering excellent research in statistics and operational research. These are the areas of the mathematical sciences which are fundamental to today's data-driven decision making.  Using industrial challenge as the catalyst for mathematical innovation the Centre will develop future international research leaders. The Lancaster-based Centre will benefit from partnerships with several world-leading organisations including AstraZeneca, IBM, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Shell and SSE. This will produce 60 PhD graduates from 2014-2022.
  • "Next Generation Nuclear" is a partnership between the Universities of Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Its mission is to work with industry and leading overseas institutions to develop the next generation of research leaders to support the UK’s present and future strategic nuclear programmes- cleaning up the nuclear legacy, building new nuclear power stations, and defence and security.  "Next Generation Nuclear" will deliver 80 PhDs from 2014-2022.
  • Lancaster University is working with the University of Manchester on GrapheneNowNano which will train 65 specialists from 2014-2022 with the skills to manipulate and develop new two-dimensional materials, in particular graphene, and work effectively across traditional discipline boundaries. A bespoke training programme of courses, laboratory projects, directed independent learning together with innovation and commercialisation training will provide the grounding for innovative, interdisciplinary research projects in a broad range of areas, from the fundamental physics and chemistry of graphene and other 2D systems to materials science, characterization, engineering and life sciences applications. Academic research will be complemented by direct engagement with a network of industrial partners.  

The EPSRC investment follows £4.9M from the Natural Environment Research Council for the Lancaster-led ENVISION Doctoral Training Centre which brings together a powerful group of UK researchers with 44 industry and NGO partners to provide a new generation of environmental scientists with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to take on the challenges of a changing world.