Research

£4.6m boost for future research leaders

The future of biomedical research in the UK will receive a vital boost thanks to a new collaborative PhD training programme worth £4.6m.

Largely funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the new award to the GW4 Alliance will fund over 50 postgraduate research students over the next three years.

GW4 brings together the University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter. It encourages interdisciplinary research across a wide pool of academics with the aim of tackling some of the biggest problems facing society. 

Known as the GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership, the new programme will train postgraduate research students in three main areas: neuroscience and mental health; infection, immunity and repair; and population health.

There will also be a strong emphasis on addressing national priorities in areas such quantitative and interdisciplinary skills, and in vivo methodology. The first cohort will begin their training in 2016.

Speaking of the award, Academic Director of the new Doctoral Training Partnership, Cardiff University Professor Colin Dayan, said:

“The new programme is unique in that it offers students access to the combined research strengths, training expertise and resources of four world-leading research-intensive universities, and places great emphasis on interdisciplinary working.

“By working together we will provide exceptional research opportunities for our students, and give them the skills required to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing biomedical research.”

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol and Chair of the GW4 Board, said:

“The launch of the GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership adds to GW4’s reputation for collaborative doctoral training of both quality and scale.

“By working together, we can provide the next wave of researchers with opportunities that we could not provide alone, attracting the very best to our universities.

“The GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership is a great example of the benefits of co-operation and will develop students who will succeed in both academia and industry.”

The training programme will have three strands in its curriculum: research skills; professional and career development skills; and opportunities to broaden horizons.

Students will be encouraged to undertake placements, research visits, public engagement internships, and have the opportunity for clinical experience.

The GW4 Alliance already hosts six doctoral training partnerships. With over 8000 postgraduate researchers and a combined annual turnover in the excess of £1bn, the alliance offers a research environment that is not only large but also of high quality.

The MRC has contributed £3.3m of funding to the new programme, while institutions within GW4 have committed an additional £1.3m.

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