EPSRC announces review of support for doctoral education

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A review launched today, 16 January 2020, will consider doctoral education offered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Changes in the research and innovation landscape, and in career paths for doctoral students, will be explored to look for opportunities to evolve EPSRC’s support to meet the needs of doctoral students, the organisations and teams in which they work, and of future employers. This review is one of the actions set out in the EPSRC Delivery Plan 2019.

EPSRC supports more than a quarter of the UK’s engineering and physical sciences doctoral students through Centres for Doctoral Training, Doctoral Training Partnerships and ICASE studentships.

Doctoral students provide a vital contribution to EPSRC’s research outcomes and go on to careers in university, business and government research and innovation and throughout the economy and society more widely.  

Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

“Doctoral students make a huge contribution to the UK’s research base, with trailblazing studies that benefit our economy, and grow our status as a science superpower.

“The EPSRC review of doctoral education will help ensure the next generation of scientists and innovators have the skills and training needed to take their ideas to the next level.”

The review, due to take place during 2020, is being held to ensure that EPSRC’s support remains world-leading and will consider a wide range of aspects, including the research outputs, the value of doctoral training for people’s careers, the skills need for employment, training methods and needs during doctoral education, routes of entry to doctoral education, and student diversity and support.

Opportunities will be provided for the community to be involved and assist with the review, including a call for evidence and a series of regional meetings. These opportunities are expected to be provided during spring and further details will be provided in due course.

Dr Alison Wall, EPSRC Deputy Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People, said: “Our investment in doctoral education is an important part of EPSRC’s portfolio. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across UKRI and our community to carry out this review, which will be key in informing the design of future programmes.”