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UCLan joins €6.5m initiative to fund student mobility

Six PHDs available in health, energy and social policy thanks to new European Union funding

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will be providing more opportunities at doctoral level for students as part of the University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) following a multi-million euro award from the European Union.

University Alliance’s project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The funding will enable student mobility and integrate the DTA’s three disciplinary areas across applied biosciences for health, energy and social policy. It will create more than 80 fellowships at 15 participating institutions – including UCLan, developing a cohort of early-stage researchers over two intakes.

University Alliance’s successful bid was the only winning British entry in the funding round, out of five UK-based applications, and is one of eight programmes across Europe to win support narrowed down from 29 bidders. It scored the highest out of any successful bid in the ‘impact’, ‘excellence’ and ‘quality and efficiency’ judging categories.

The Institution will be welcoming six doctoral students in this first phase to undertake projects based at the main Preston Campus.

The University is delighted to be one of 15 UK universities receiving this European funding for six doctoral level student positions.

Professor StJohn Crean, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Clinical Health and Research, said: “The University is delighted to be one of 15 UK universities receiving this European funding for six doctoral level student positions. It demonstrates how UCLan is recognised on a national level for the quality of our research and our commitment to discovering the next generation of academics.”

The new opportunities created through the programme are advertised at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/

The DTA, which is the UK’s largest doctoral training programme of its kind, was launched in 2015 to create a new model closely aligned to industrial strategy and priority challenges, producing industry-ready graduates.

Collaboration with industry and civil society is at the heart of the DTA, with business and third sector representatives including the Big Lottery Fund, Philips International and Legal & General providing external quality assurance and monitoring.

The flexibility of the DTA model means it is well aligned to the need for more opportunities at doctoral level for students from a wide range of backgrounds – the diversity profile of DTA students compares favourably to Research Council-supported schemes, across both gender and ethnicity. A higher percentage are in the 30-39 age bracket and 64% of DTA students are aged 25 or above.

The DTA programme responds to the needs of industry and the challenges facing society, training independent, highly-employable researchers with relevant skills and expertise to thrive in strategically important sectors.

Commenting, University Alliance Chair Professor John Latham said: “This major external funding award is a prestigious a stamp of approval for University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) model and demonstrates its distinctiveness and strengths.

“The DTA programme responds to the needs of industry and the challenges facing society, training independent, highly-employable researchers with relevant skills and expertise to thrive in strategically important sectors.  The success of our proposal reflects that.

“As the DTA – the UK’s largest multi-institution partnership of its kind – goes from strength to strength, it is fantastic that this funding will enable the programme to attract talent from overseas and operate internationally. The opportunities being created will add to UK research and innovation ecosystem and help us stay competitive.”

This is the first phase of funding, there will be another recruitment process for a further four students in early 2019.

Rachel Atkinson | 03 September 2018