Industrial CASE frequently asked questions
Q1: What are Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) studentships?
Industrial CASE studentships are allocated directly to a limited number of businesses. The company takes the lead in defining a student project and selects a research organisation to work with. The academic partner and company recruit a suitable eligible candidate. Projects must be in the engineering or physical sciences and are jointly supervised by the academic and industrial partners.
Eligibility and requirements
Q2: How can a company get an industrial CASE studentship?
It is NOT possible to apply directly to EPSRC for a studentship. However, Industrial CASE is not our only scheme where industry can get involved with PhD projects. Companies can sponsor students and projects supported through University Doctoral Training Partnerships (note: to actively support and encourage collaboration through this route, EPSRC has, since 2009, set research organisations the target of converting 10% of their Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) funds into CASE awards). If you are interested in sponsoring a student through this route, please contact the research organisation you would like to work with.
Q3: What are the student eligibility requirements?
For a full award students must have a relevant connection with UK (usually established by residence), and normally a degree at 2:1 or better (or equivalent). If a student fulfils the academic requirement but has a relevant connection with an EU country other than the UK they may be eligible for an award of fees only (in other words, no maintenance grant to the student). From October 2011 onwards universities will have some flexibility and discretion to support the very best students wherever they may come from (EU, international or otherwise). Please see student eligibility for further details and contact your university postgraduate admissions office for advice.
Q4: What do companies need to contribute for Industrial CASE?
Companies must provide additional top-up funding to the student project. This cash contribution must be at least one third of the EPSRC funding but the company can contribute more if they want to.
Companies should also provide a placement at their premises (for a minimum of three months over the 4 years of an award), co-supervision for the student, plus funding to cover the costs of travelling to and from the company and any accommodation or subsistence costs for the student while on placement. Students can spend more than three months with the company. If you are considering much longer placements, please check the relevant research organisation regulations as there will probably be a minimum amount of time that the student needs to spend at the university in order to remain registered for the higher degree.
Q5: Are companies and academic partners required to sign a Collaboration Agreement?
Before commencing an ICASE project, the collaborating organisations should have in place a signed agreement describing how the collaboration will operate, and setting out expectations, responsibilities and liabilities for each partner organisation. We would also recommend that the student is a signatory to the agreement. The Intellectual Property Office created this toolkit with a set of customisable model agreements to help universities and businesses (especially small and medium-sized enterprises) to collaborate more effectively.
Q6: How much is the student stipend?
Details of student stipends can be found in our Minimum Payments section. The Industrial CASE student stipend may be increased above the minimum payment using the industrial top-up. The amount of stipend enhancement should be carefully considered to attract a suitable eligible student. As a general rule, students do not pay tax on their maintenance grant as it is a training award. With higher contributions, students or universities may need to ask their local Inland Revenue to check on the tax-free status (we have no set level below which it is exempt and above which it needs checking).
Q7: How are Industrial CASE studentships allocated?
Studentships are allocated to companies based on their participation in EPSRC-funded research, specifically on the basis of their financial contributions to grants.
Q8: Can students apply?
No - Students cannot apply directly to EPSRC and must contact the research organisation at which they wish to study. We do not hold prospectuses.
Q9: How is the studentship funded?
EPSRC funds Industrial CASE via an annual Industrial CASE Account (ICA) of five year duration, into which funds for all Industrial CASE studentships associated with the research organisation for that year are paid. Concurrent accounts may be managed flexibly. A list of specific accounts is available to view on the Support By Scheme (ICA) page on the Grants on the Web website.
Q10: What options are there should the industrial partner have to withdraw from the project?
The academic partner should attempt to find a replacement industrial partner. If the student is already registered, EPSRC will continue to fund the PhD regardless of whether a replacement is found. If a student has not yet been identified, the replacement company identified must adhere to the Industrial CASE Terms and Conditions. The company should be fully involved in the project selection, academic partner selection (within the university), and student selection as was the original company.
Q11: What if the student withdraws from the project?
A replacement student may be found for the project, subject to sufficient funds being available in the Industrial CASE Account(s) and remaining industrial top-up to support the student for the 4 year PhD. The cut-off for a student starting is October one year after the grant funding begins. There may be situations where unforeseen circumstances allow for this cut-off to be extended by up to 12 months – these situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Q12: What if an eligible student cannot be found for the specific project?
If an eligible student cannot be found, the company may seek a replacement academic partner. If the new partner is from a different research organisation the two institutions should arrange a funds transfer; EPSRC will continue to pay into the original university Industrial CASE Account.
Q13: Can a part-time student be supported by Industrial CASE? What if the Industrial CASE Account duration is less than the period of the PhD?
EPSRC fund Industrial CASE studentships with the expectation that the studentship will be full time. In exceptional circumstances, and with the agreement of the research organisation and industrial partner, a student may be registered on a part-time basis (minimum 50%).