Public Release: 

Minister announces £350 million investment to train future science leaders

EPSRC to issue call for new Centres for Doctoral Training

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

One of the UK's largest investments in training for the engineering and physical sciences was announced today by Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

Speaking at the think tank Policy Exchange, Mr Willetts announced the forthcoming £350 million call to be issued in February by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Mr Willetts said: "Maintaining a healthy supply of skilled scientists, researchers and engineers is vital to our economy and society. That's why I'm pleased to announce that EPSRC will be inviting universities to apply for a share of the £350 million available to support doctoral training in priority areas. This investment will ensure we have the knowledge and expertise to tackle the major challenges we face in the 21st century, from improving healthcare to developing greener energy."

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) 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. The call for new Centres will be available from 6th February on the EPSRC website.

EPSRC's Chief Executive, Professor David Delpy said: "Developing the talented leaders of tomorrow is a key goal for EPSRC and we recognise the need to support researchers at all stages of their careers, providing the right environment in which to grow.

"Future economic growth will depend on our ability to develop the right people with the right skills in key sectors. The Centre for Doctoral Training model has already proved highly effective in training cohorts of world class students and drawing in expertise from industry and business. This new call will focus on over 60 priority areas identified after engagement with the scientific community."


For media enquiries contact:

Richard Tibenham at the EPSRC Press Office.

Notes to Editors:

1. 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.

2. CDTs Background Information

EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training are funded for four years and include technical and transferrable skills, 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.

Over the period March-August 2012 EPSRC invited stakeholders to respond to the question 'What UK skills gaps do you think could be met by or are appropriate for a more focused centre type approach?' EPSRC received over 600 suggestions which helped to develop a statement of theme priorities.

Background to 2013 CDT call

December 2008 £250 million funding for new Centres for Doctoral Training announced.
October 2011 A mid-term review required the Centres to demonstrate progress and impact in their areas. Also included in the review were a number of longer standing centres, enabling a broader overview of the portfolio. In total 59 Centres were reviewed and all the centres reviewed received feedback on their progress.
March 2012 Start of community engagement exercise for the 2013 Centres for Doctoral Training call.
June 2012 Community engagement exercise announced on EPSRC website open for anyone to provide input.
November 2012 Update on the results of the engagement exercise and the preliminary list of priority areas published on EPSRC website.
6 February 2013 Call to be issued.
April 2013 Closing date for outlines for the call.
July 2013 Closing date for full applications.
End of 2013 Announce results of the call.
Full list of priority areas by theme
Some of the priority areas are also supported by other Research Councils and co-funding has been agreed should appropriate proposals be funded.
Digital Economy
New digital ventures
Digital identity
Digitally connected citizens


Carbon capture and storage and clean fossil energy
End use energy demand in buildings, transport and industry
Energy storage
Hydrogen and fuel cells
Power networks
Wind and marine energy


Autonomous systems and robotics
Engineering for life and health
Engineering sciences
Fluid dynamics
Materials technologies
National infrastructure systems
Power electronics
Process engineering
Structural integrity and materials behaviour
Sustainable built environments
Synthetic biology

Healthcare technologies

Digital healthcare
Healthcare device innovation
Medical imaging
Regenerative medicine
Therapeutics and nanomedicine


Data to knowledge
High performance embedded and distributed systems
ICT for manufacturing
Integrative technologies
Next generation interaction technologies
Underpinning communication and computer science training

Living with environmental change


Mathematical sciences

Core mathematics and its interfaces
Industrially focused mathematical modelling
Mathematical analysis and its applications
Mathematics of weather, oceans and climate
Mathematics of highly connected, real-world systems
New mathematics in biology and medicine

Manufacturing the Future

Complex manufactured products
Distributed manufacturing
Future industrial systems
Innovative production processes
Lightweight systems
Sustainable use of materials

Physical Sciences

Computational and theoretical physical sciences
Condensed matter physics
Functional materials
Materials characterisation
Measurement and sensing
New physical sciences for biology and healthcare
Novel and efficient chemical synthesis
Photonic materials, metamaterials and plasmonics
Plasma and high energy density physics
Polymer, soft matter and colloid science
Sustainable chemistry
Towards quantum technologies

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