A new collaborative PhD training programme, including the University of Exeter and worth £4.6m, has been announced.

£4.6M boost for future biomedical research leaders

The future of biomedical research in the UK will receive a vital boost thanks to a new collaborative PhD training programme, including the University of Exeter, worth £4.6m.

Largely funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the new award to the GW4 Alliance will fund over 50 postgraduate research students over the next three years.

GW4 brings together the University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and Exeter. It encourages interdisciplinary research across a wide pool of academics with the aim of tackling some of the biggest problems facing society. 

Known as the GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership, the new programme will train postgraduate research students in three main areas: neuroscience and mental health; infection, immunity and repair; and population health.

There will also be a strong emphasis on addressing national priorities in areas such quantitative and interdisciplinary skills, and in vivo methodology. The first cohort will begin their training in 2016.

Sean Fielding, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Exeter said: “This is great news for research students wanting to develop a biomedical career in Exeter.  They can be based in Exeter yet take part in research and training across the whole GW4 network.  This will be a great boost to our new £52m Living Systems Institute which opens next year."

The training programme will have three strands in its curriculum: research skills; professional and career development skills; and opportunities to broaden horizons.

Students will be encouraged to undertake placements, research visits, public engagement internships, and have the opportunity for clinical experience.

The GW4 Alliance already hosts six doctoral training partnerships. With over 8000 postgraduate researchers and a combined annual turnover in the excess of £1bn, the alliance offers a research environment that is not only large but also of high quality.

The MRC has contributed £3.3m of funding to the new programme, while institutions within GW4 have committed an additional £1.3m.

Date: 3 December 2015

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