Funding for PhDs

In many cases, businesses and organisations that have initially approached us with a short-term engineering question in mind have subsequently decided to get involved in a PhD project with us instead. In some cases the problem posed to us has been more complicated than initially thought, or simply an opportunity was identified that could only be investigated fully over a longer period of time.  Other reasons for industrial funding of a PhD have been given as follows:

  • To establish a longer term relationship. For a similar amount of funding to a short-term consultancy project a 3-year PhD research project provides a longer outlook and often a more ambitious research objective able to incorporate cutting edge methods.
  • Continued access to our experts. Regular on-site meetings at the University of Manchester provide wealth of opportunity to access a large pool of expertise and the opportunity to grow new links and ties with other academics and departments.
  • Opportunity to develop something entirely new. PhD projects are the coalface of our research, and thus provide the industrial partner with potential for highly innovative solutions.

There are various types of PhD funding available such as CASE awards, shared funding (such as The MACE Beacon PhD) and full funding provided through a Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT).

EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship

Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (iCASE) is a scheme providing funding for PhD studentships where businesses take the lead. CASE studentships are collaborative training grants that provide students with first-rate challenging research training experience, allowing top quality graduates to undertake research, leading to a PhD, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations. As a part of the EPSRC’s commitment to UK industry all industrial CASE research students must spend part of their time with the partner company. The EPSRC stipulates a placement period of a minimum of 3 months, and up to a maximum of 18 months. The required placement period can be accrued through a number of shorter placements, if appropriate.

CASE studentships are awarded in three ways:

  • Block allocations to Industrial CASE partnerships (ICP)/Collaborative Training Partnerships (CTP) for collaborations between these strategic industrial partners and academic institutions of their choice.
  • Annual allocations to our Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) for collaborations with non-academic institutions of their choice.
  • Conversion of DTP Training grants to CASE studentships.

In addition to the experience of an industrial research environment, the student should receive business-related training, for example, in project-management, business strategy and/or finance.

Case Study | BAE Systems

BAE Systems sponsored iCASE awards helps postgraduate students shape the future of flight at Manchester

Aircraft traditionally use moving surfaces such as flaps to control how they move through the air. Work at the University of Manchester has been looking at how these moving controls can be replaced by the blowing of compressed air from and over specially contoured parts of the wing and engine nozzle to generate control forces and moments without changing the shape of the aircraft. Over the last 12 years there have been eight separate iCASE awards with BAE Systems at the University of Manchester working towards the goal of a fully flapless aircraft. This work has pushed the boundaries of what is considered possible in this area through a series of wind tunnel trials, computational fluid dynamics and free flight testing of model scale aircraft. The partnership has benefited BAE Systems through relatively low cost development of innovative technologies in a creative University environment. The University has greatly benefited from access to industrial leadership and understanding of wider constraints affecting commercial application of the technologies developed.

Benefits for the student:

Industrial CASE provides outstanding student access to training, facilities and expertise not available in an academic setting alone. Students benefit from a diversity of experimental approaches with an applied/translational dimension. Students have an opportunity to develop a range of valuable skills and significantly enhance their future employability.

Benefits to the academic/partner organisation:

Industrial CASE studentships encourage productive engagement between partners who benefit from a motivated, high-quality PhD student undertaking cutting-edge research relevant to the organisations priorities and objectives. The studentship provides opportunities to explore novel research collaborations and strengthen current partnerships.

Contact Us

If you wish to find out more about PhD funding please contact us.


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