The Government has announced two major investments to boost the UK’s engineering and science research.
The £204M fund will see 40 UK universities share £167M to support doctoral training over a two-year period. The University of Oxford will receive one of the highest shares – £13.5M – with other universities including Southampton, Aberdeen, Cardiff and Belfast also set to benefit from the funding.
The remaining £37M will be used to invest in the UK’s research into quantum technologies.
The funding for doctoral training will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which has changed how funds are allocated through its Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). The DTP funds will support students for the academic years beginning October 2016 and 2017.
Universities and science minister Jo Johnson made the funding announcement during a visit to the University of Oxford where he met academics working in the Networked Quantum Information Technologies (NQIT) Quantum Technology Hub. The hub is one of four that constitute the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme which is exploring the properties of quantum mechanics and how they can be harnessed and used in technology.
Johnson said: “We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The Government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers which scientists are working on in Oxford. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow.”
EPSRC’s chief executive Philip Nelson said that the funding will give institutions greater certainty and increased time to plan their DTP programmes, as well as supporting doctoral students.
“In addition, we are investing in training and providing capital for research to ensure that the National Quantum Technologies Programme can make the most of the country’s research talents,” he said. These strategic investments will help science push at the boundaries and make discoveries that are taken through into innovations.”
The funding is a part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to UK science, with £6.9bn invested in science laboratories and equipment up to 2021, and protection of the science budget at £4.7bn per year in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.