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Doctoral Training Partnership secures major boost as part of £79 million investment

The GW4 BioMed2 MRC Doctoral Training Partnership is one of 17 successful Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) to receive the awards across 34 UK research organisations through the MRC’s DTP competition which focuses on scientific excellence, positive research culture and wider training opportunities.

Led by Cardiff University, the Partnership will train postgraduate research students in three main areas: neuroscience and mental health; infection, immunity, antimicrobial resistance and repair; and population health sciences. The programme will focus on three cross cutting strands: data science, interdisciplinary skills and translation and innovation and includes opportunities for students to broaden horizons through industry placements, research visits, public engagement internships and a bespoke online core skills training element.

GW4 BioMed MRC DTP Director, Professor Colin Dayan at the University of Bristol, commented: “We are very excited to be successful in securing this MRC funding for GW4 BioMed2 MRC DTP. This confirms the close working relationships that our PGR communities have developed over the last six years and the increasing national reputation of our programme. With a community of over 750 potential supervisors and nine industrial partners, we will be able to offer an outstanding training experience for our students.’

GW4 Director, Dr Jo Jenkinson MBE, said: “Our GW4 institutions host over 30 externally funded Doctoral Training Centres and Partnerships, offering students access to the combined research strengths, training expertise and resources of four world-leading research-intensive universities, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

“It’s fantastic the MRC have recognised the quality and importance of our collaborative and interdisciplinary BioMed DTP by increasing the numbers of students supported. By working together across the alliance, we provide exceptional research opportunities for our students, and give them the skills required to tackle some of the most difficult societal challenges.”

The MRC has awarded GW4 BioMed2 16 notational studentships across the alliance per year for three years, with each GW4 institution contributing an additional studentship each year. The partnership has also received funding for four iCASE studentships over the three years. These industrial CASE studentships (Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) allow postgraduate research students to receive high quality research training in collaboration with commercial or other non-academic partners.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, MRC, said: “We are thrilled to announce our funding for the next generation of MRC PhD researchers through 17 new UK-wide Doctoral Training Partnership awards. Outstanding research is only possible when we invest in people to conduct that research. Our new awards are student-centred, setting out to increase the diversity of individuals pursing research careers and providing opportunities for students to widen their horizons during and post-PhD.”

The GW4 BioMed1 partnership has provided unique training for future research leaders for the past six years. This new award will see the GW4 BioMed MRC DTP continue in its second phase for a further three years, with the first intake of the new studentships in October 2022. The call for projects proposals for the this first intake will be launched on Monday 12th July 2021. 

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