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Major funding announced for bioscience students

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Press release issued: 3 October 2014

The Bristol-led South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) is to receive substantial new funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for the training and development of bioscience PhD students.

The BBSRC has announced an investment of £125 million ‘for the next generation of scientists to drive the economy of the future’. This will fund the training of 1,250 bioscience students at 12 doctoral training centres in the UK, including the Bristol-led partnership.

The SWDTP comprising the GW4 universities Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter and the world-renowned agricultural institute Rothamstead Research will receive £8 million from the BBSRC for this specialised training. The new programme, to be called ‘South West Bioscience’ (SWBio), will focus training in two high-priority areas: ‘Agriculture and Food Security’ and ‘World-Class Underpinning Biosciences’.

Professor Leo Brady, Director of SWBio, said: “Funding of this new doctoral training programme reflects the internationally renowned strength of biosciences research within the GW4 alliance. Our students will benefit immensely from the expertise and superb facilities available across GW4.”

Dr Andy Bailey, SWBio’s Academic Co-ordinator, said: “Traditional doctoral research training will be enhanced through joint training courses and regular cohort activities across the entire consortium. The inclusion of Cardiff in this new consortium opens up new research opportunities for our students, and allows the implementation of a common course structure made possible by the GW4 alliance.”

Further information

The BBSRC-funded SWBio DTP provides doctoral research training in the biosciences across four South West Universities (Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Cardiff) along with Rothamsted Research (including the North Wyke Farm facility in North Devon). The alliance is primarily funded by a training grant from the BBSRC, supplemented by contributions from each of the participating institutions, providing 114 PhD studentships over the next five years. Students enrol within a structured training programme that includes common taught course units and lab rotations in Year One, a research project in Years Two to Four, and extended skills training throughout all four years, along with a compulsory three-month professional placement (internship) outside of their area of academic expertise in Years Two or Three. 

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