University of Portsmouth joins €6.5m initiative to fund student mobility

The University of Portsmouth will be providing more opportunities at doctoral level for students as part of the University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) following a multi-million euro award from the European Union.

University Alliance’s project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

The funding will create more than 80 fellowships at 15 participating institutions – including the University of Portsmouth, developing a cohort of early-stage researchers over two intakes. It will enable student mobility and integrate the DTA’s three disciplinary areas across applied biosciences for health, energy and social policy.

University Alliance’s successful bid was the only winning British entry in the funding round, out of five UK-based applications, and is one of eight programmes across Europe to win support narrowed down from 29 bidders. It scored the highest out of any successful bid in the ‘impact’, ‘excellence’ and ‘quality and efficiency’ judging categories.

The University of Portsmouth will be welcoming two researchers to undertake projects such as ‘fault tolerant control of nuclear power plants’ and ‘saving energy in compressed air systems using ambient intelligence and AI’.

The new opportunities created through the programme are advertised at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/ .

The DTA, which is the UK’s largest doctoral training programme of its kind, was launched in 2015 to create a new model closely aligned to industrial strategy and priority challenges, producing industry-ready graduates.

Collaboration with industry and civil society is at the heart of the DTA, with business and third sector representatives including the Big Lottery Fund, Philips International and Legal & General providing external quality assurance and monitoring.

The flexibility of the DTA model means it is well aligned to the need for more opportunities at doctoral level for students from a wide range of backgrounds – the diversity profile of DTA students compares favourably to Research Council-supported schemes, across both gender and ethnicity. A higher percentage are in the 30-39 age bracket and 64 per cent of DTA students are aged 25 or above.

Professor Victor Becerra, programme lead for the University of Portsmouth, said: “The DTA programme will develop early-stage researchers as internationally connected, independent researchers with interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral skills and experience, ready for industrial employment. We will be looking to attract the best possible candidates to join the programme”.

University Alliance Chair Professor John Latham said: “This major external funding award is a prestigious a stamp of approval for University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) model and demonstrates its distinctiveness and strengths.

“The DTA programme responds to the needs of industry and the challenges facing society, training independent, highly-employable researchers with relevant skills and expertise to thrive in strategically important sectors.  The success of our proposal reflects that.

“As the DTA – the UK’s largest multi-institution partnership of its kind – goes from strength to strength, it is fantastic that this funding will enable the programme to attract talent from overseas and operate internationally. The opportunities being created will add to UK research and innovation ecosystem and help us stay competitive.”

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