Major funding boost to train next generation of bioscientists

The University of Liverpool has led a successful bid for a share of £170m funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to train the next generation of biological scientists.

The Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham (NLD) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) brings together the academic strengths of the Universities of Liverpool, Newcastle and Durham, with eight associate partners.

The NLD DTP is one of twelve successful UK partnerships to benefit from the new investment.

Liverpool’s successful bid in the third round of the UKRI-BBSRC’s DTP programme will fund up to 70 new PhD studentships in biotechnology and biological science over the next five years. This includes four industrial CASE (iCASE) studentship awards a year. The funding will be matched by the universities to support a total of 28 studentships a year.

The multidisciplinary PhD training programme will develop a cohort of highly-skilled researchers capable of addressing key research challenges through the application of frontier bioscience.

Professor Andy Jones, NLD DTP Director at the University of Liverpool said: “We are delighted to secure this new award, which recognises the strength of our partnership and the quality of research across key thematic areas of the BBSRC.

“There is a particular emphasis on agri-food research, and training will include exploiting new ways of working and ‘big data’.”

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “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.”

Professor Mark Caddick, Dean of the Institute of Integrative Biology, thanked the Liverpool team of Professor Andy Jones, Dr Mal Horsburgh and Professor Diana Williams and commented: “The award builds upon on IIB’s Gold Athena Swan award, placing equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the training programme. This will enable recruitment of students with outstanding potential to address key biological questions facing our planet.”

UKRI-BBSRC DTPs provide PhD training in areas of bioscience relevant to the remit and strategic research priority areas of BBSRC. They also provide a breadth of professional development training opportunities to enhance the capabilities of doctoral candidates and develop a world-class, highly skilled workforce the UK needs for its future.

The associate partners on the Liverpool-led DTP are the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, AIMES, Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock, Centre for Process Innovation, Fera Science Ltd, KWS UK Ltd, Proctor and Gamble, and Tesco.