Two new postgraduate training centres, aimed at producing tomorrow's top engineers and scientists, will be led by Heriot-Watt University as part of a £350m initiative announced by Science Minister David Willetts.
The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Applied Photonics and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems will train 125 postgraduate students over the next eight years at Heriot-Watt and partner universities with strong engagement with industry across the UK.
The funding, targeted at areas vital to economic growth in the UK, has been allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Science Minister David Willetts said, "Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills, that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.
"I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race."
Paul Golby, EPSRC's Chair, said, "Centres for Doctoral Training have already proved to be a great success and the model is popular with students, business and industry. These new centres will give the country the highly trained scientists and engineers it needs and they will be equipped with skills to move on in their careers. The standard of applications for Centres was very high and more could have been funded if we had the capacity."
Alan Miller, Deputy Principal (Research and Knowledge Transfer) at Heriot-Watt University, said, "We are delighted to have received EPSRC funding for two CDTs in a very competitive environment. The research projects created by these post-graduate studentships will provide long-term benefits not only to the students themselves but also to the research base of Scottish Universities and the research needs of UK industry, keeping them at the cutting edge of technological developments.
"One of the great things about these Centres for Doctoral Training is that they are based on research groupings which provide collaborative environments, rather than students concentrating solely on their individual research projects. This means networking, between the PhD students, between universities and with industry, providing an experience in which to develop a wide range of skills to solve important research challenges, contributing to the economic development of the country."