Multi million pound investment in training tomorrow's bioscience research leaders

24 Jan 2012 16:51:10.763

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The University of Nottingham is to share in a £67m investment in postgraduate training for future bioscientists to learn the skills required to meet economic and social challenges for the future.

The investment, from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), includes support for 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) across the UK as well as a number of industrial studentship awards from the Centre for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Professor Jerry Roberts, Dean of the Graduate School and Director of The University of Nottingham’s DTP, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a BBSRC DTP in collaboration with Rothamsted Research. The University recognises the importance of providing PhD students with both a first class research environment and the opportunity to develop their employability skills. We believe that the training programme that we have designed will deliver bioscientists with the capacity to tackle problems of a global nature who will become the research leaders of tomorrow.”

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The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, has received funding of £5.7m and will recruit a first cohort of over 30, four year PhD students to commence their training in October 2012. There will be a special launch event at the Engineering and Science Learning Centre on University Park on Wednesday February 1 2012 to promote the DTP programme to potential students.

Targeting areas of global concern

The DTP will train future scientists in the areas of food security, bioenergy and industrial biotechnology, and core areas underpinning world class bioscience. These areas complement the priority research groups established by The University of Nottingham to harness its international reputation for the delivery of cutting edge research and to further enhance its knowledge transfer activities in addressing challenges of global concern. The University’s record in the delivery of outstanding research and training in Global Food Security was recently recognised by the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Global food security, bioenergy and brewing sciences are all key projects within The University of Nottingham’s Impact Campaign which aims to raise £150m to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

The DTPs will provide highly skilled scientists for academia, policy and industry and support the BBSRC mission to further scientific knowledge for economic growth, wealth and job creation — improving the quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Government announcement

Later today at the University of Reading, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts will say:  “This £67 million investment in postgraduate training is excellent news for students, research organisations, industry and the UK as a whole. The brightest and best students will be finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing us all, from food security through to renewable energy.

“The partnership approach means that many institutions are combining their strengths to provide students with improved training and relevant work experience. This will better equip them for future careers, be it in research, industry, or elsewhere.”

Taken as a whole, the DTP programme will deliver scientists with the training to meet major social and economic challenges in food security, sustainable bioenergy and renewable materials and improving lifelong health and wellbeing, as well as supporting those undertaking research in core underpinning bioscience.

An innovative and integral element of the programme, built in to enhance the employability of the DTP students, is the requirement for them to undertake a three-month professional internship outside of the lab to widen their experience of the areas of work in which they can apply their PhD skills and training. Destinations for these internships will include policymaking, media, teaching and industry.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and Skills said, “We believe that this approach is a great way of doing things, enabling us to support the very best students working in the most important areas from food security through to crucial underpinning bioscience.

“DTPs are all about training researchers to be the best they can be. By doing this we can make real inroads into answering global conundrums which will ultimately have a massive impact on the UK economy and further afield.”

The DTP funding allows institutions to recruit the best students and secure additional funding from other sources, such as industry or charities to increase the impact of public investment.

CASE studentships provide high quality research training in collaboration with an industrial partner.

They are 4-year doctoral training grants for top quality bioscience graduates to undertake research (leading to a PhD) on a subject selected and supervised jointly by academic and industrial partners.

Ends —

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Notes to editors: 

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445m, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011

as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.


The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit:


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

Story credits

 More information is available from Professor Jerry Roberts, on +44 (0) 115 9516339,; or Mike Davies at the BBSRC on +44 (0)1793 414694 or +44 (0) 778 710536,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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