BBSRC have approved £2.6m funding to The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) for a Collaborative Training Partnership which enables N8 universities to host industry-led PhD studentships. These training awards will fund projects in Industrial Biotechnology, Bioenergy and World Class Underpinning Science in Scottish and N8 universities.
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Based in Scotland, IBioIC are focussed on the industrial biotechnology (IB) sector with the goal of connecting industry, academia and government. Through this ground-breaking, ‘cross-border’ collaboration with N8 Research Partnership, the CTP will enable the 8 research-intensive universities in the North of England and partnered Scottish universities to deliver 27 four-year studentships (from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020). This will accelerate skills in bioscience priority areas, through industry-led doctoral training.
The North of England is richly endowed with biotech businesses, ranging from the cluster of process industries surrounding the Centre for Process Innovation in the North-East to the Speke Biocorridor in the North-West. N8 recognises this through its Bioeconomy Emerging Community.
Furthermore, the N8 universities are leaders in 8 of the 13 Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBBs) that were formed by BBSRC to foster collaboration between academia, industry, policy makers and NGOs.
BBSRC investment in the CTP is worth more than £2.6M; almost £100,000 per studentship including course fees, stipend and a £5K (per annum) Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). CTP studentships will fund collaborative PhD projects in which businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner. The industry partner will provide a 3-18 month research placement and around 20% (approximately £20K) of the funding.
Ian Archer, Technical Director of the IBioIC said, “The BBSRC Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) competition was highly competitive and we’re delighted our commitment to accelerating the bioeconomy has been recognised via these awards. We’re proud to be co-investing in training the next generation of skilled people for the research base and wider bioeconomy.”
Peter Simpson, Director of N8 Research Partnership said, “We are delighted to be able to work with IBioIC to promote collaboration in the bioeconomy. This programme will enhance research capability in this important economic sector in both Scotland and the North of England”.
The CTP invites applications from industry-led PhD projects in collaboration with a Scottish University or a University of the N8 Research Partnership. Applications from SMEs are particularly encouraged and all applications should be aligned to the following major themes:
- Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (including Sustainable Feedstocks, Integrated Bioprocessing and Downstream Processing)
- World Class Underpinning Bioscience (Synthetic Biology, Bio-catalysis and Biotransformation)