Three Midland universities are to receive around £4.5 million for research in bio sciences to meet international economic and social changes.
The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership, which includes the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester, will offer up to 90 four-year postgraduate places over the next three years as a result of an award by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and match funding from the universities.
BBSRC doctoral training partnerships are part of a £67 million nationwide investment in bioscience training announced by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.
The partnership will offer doctoral scholarships in areas such as food security and industrial biotechnology.
John McCarthy, head of the school of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, said: “Global challenges such as ensuring food security and developing underpinning biotechnologies will have an impact on the lives of everyone on this planet.
“Warwick and our partners have prioritised these areas for research.”
Jacqueline Labbe, chair of Warwick Graduate School, added: “This prestigious award recognises the calibre of life sciences research in the Midlands and and the University of Warwick’s leading role.
“We look forward to building the MIBTP to give critical mass to these vital research areas.”
The investment is one of 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) worth £67 million announced across the UK.
As part of the programme DTP students are required to undertake a three month professional internship outside of the lab to widen their experience of the areas of work in which they can apply their PhD skills and training.
Destinations for these internships will include policymaking, media, teaching and industry.
To provide greater support for the research training costs of each student, and to recognise rising research inflation, BBSRC is awarding significantly higher research training grants for each student of £5,000 per student, per year.
Mr Willetts said: “This £67 million investment in postgraduate training is excellent news for students, research organisations, industry and the UK as a whole.
“The brightest and best students will be finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing us all, from food security through to renewable energy.
“The partnership approach means that many institutions are combining their strengths to provide students with improved training and relevant work experience.
“This will better equip them for future careers, be it in research, industry, or elsewhere.”