School of Life Sciences


Sussex among consortium awarded 19 studentships in multi-million pound BBSRC investment in bioscience

A consortium including the University of Sussex, led by the University of Southampton, has successfully bid for a large Doctoral Training Partnership grant funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, a part of UK Research and Innovation).

Funding for the studentships (19 per year over 5 years), was awarded to the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), South Coast Biosciences (SoCoBio), which comprises the universities of Southampton, Kent, Sussex, Portsmouth and the horticultural and agricultural research institute NIAB-EMR, is part of a £170m boost to fund 1,700 PhD researchers over five annual cohorts at academic institutions nationwide. The SoCoBio consortium is one of just 12 successful bids across the UK.

Professor Matthew Terry, Director of SoCoBio DTP and Deputy Head of School (Research and Enterprise) of the School of Biological Sciences at Southampton commented: “We are very proud of our work in developing the SoCoBio partnership over the last two years and look forward to working with our partners to train the next generation of PhD graduates in the Biosciences for the region, the wider UK and for global society.”

Professor Sarah Guthrie (Head of School of Life Sciences) who led for Sussex, said: “Over the past two years SoCoBio has developed into a great team. I’m really looking forward to working further with our partner universities and to our first intake of students. There was huge enthusiasm at the recent networking event, which will build our research collaboration network within and beyond the scope of the DTP.”

The 19 studentships per year will be shared across the DTP institutions for a five year period. They consist of 14 standard studentships and five CASE (jointly supported by industry) studentships to be allocated initially over three years – then a further two years after review. Each studentship will pay fees, stipend and training costs for successful PhD candidates, who will undertake world-leading research work within the Biosciences.

Announcing the DTP awards nationally, Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “The success of the UK’s science sector and the consequent benefits to society and the economy relies on great researchers doing great work. Our Doctoral Training Partnerships have already supported the training of hundreds of early career scientists working at the cutting edge of biology and biotechnology. By continuing to fund, through this significant £170 million investment, vital training of the next generation of researchers we will help ensure that the UK consolidates its position as world-leader in this crucial sector.”

Each of the 12 successful DTPs have also received some additional Flexible Support Funding, to provide additional opportunities for students within and across cohorts. This funding will also be used to encourage under-represented groups of undergraduates to experience research through summer placements, as well as provide additional funds to support high-cost research projects.

Colleagues from Sussex who have so far participated in the development of the bid include those from Life Sciences, Psychology, BSMS and Engineering and Informatics. A feature of the proposal is to place Business and Entrepreneurship at the heart of student training, and will involve a collaborative module developed at Sussex between Life Sciences and the Business School.

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Friday, 25 October 2019