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University of Aberdeen receives £1.7M EPSRC Collaborative Training Grant

The University of Aberdeen is to benefit from a major funding award which will be used to develop new technology programmes to attract science and engineering students and build links with potential employers.

The £1.7 million award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to be provided via a Collaborative Training Account (CTA), will be used to support UK and EU students on advanced Masters level training programmes.

The funding will also support research links with industry through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), a Government-funded grant mechanism which enables companies of any size, and in most sectors, to gain access to expertise within research institutions to work collaboratively on a strategic business development programme.

The grant has been awarded in the second round of EPSRC’s new scheme for supporting collaborative training with industry. The grant will run for four years beginning in April 2005 and will provide full fees and stipends for approximately 100 new postgraduates.

Speaking about the award, Professor Michael Baker, Head of the Graduate School in the College of Physical Sciences, said: “The University of Aberdeen is delighted with the significant size of this award of funding from the EPSRC, one of the largest ever awards given to the University.

“This can be seen as recognition of the work of colleagues in developing advanced technology programmes that are attractive to students and potential employers.

“The nature of this £1.7M award means that we will have increased opportunities of working with colleagues in industry, which can only be of mutual benefit.”

The main beneficiary of the funding will be the University’s College of Physical Sciences, with support for two existing Masters Programmes in Safety & Reliability Engineering and Computing Science, and the development of two new advanced Computing Science Programmes to provide for the current and future need for computer scientists with specialist skills in the health services (electronic-health technology) and in electronic-science technology.

The University’s College of Life Sciences and Medicine and the NHS will also be participating in the development and provision of the health-related programmes, and will be delivering a new taught programme in Medical Physics Computing. There will also be a new research training programme in advanced materials.

The funds have been awarded partly in recognition of the University’s excellent track record in training postgraduates in science and engineering and as a result of collaboration with local industry. Since 1999, the University has been involved in more than 30 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with companies, mainly in the oil and gas sector.

Professor Albert Rodger, Head of the College of Physical Sciences said: “The £1.7 million funding which is being awarded from the EPSRC will be an enormous boost to the University of Aberdeen. It will help to support advanced taught programmes in science and engineering and will enable the University to build on collaborative links with our external industry partners.”

Alan Thomas, Head, CTA Implementation Project Manager, EPSRC, welcomed the funding being provided to the University. He said: “The University of Aberdeen put forward a persuasive case for funding. They were clearly seeking to build both on their particular research expertise as well a proven track-record of training delivery. Consequently, we are looking forward to working in partnership with the University to ensure that the aim underpinning the implementation of Collaborative Training Accounts - to put collaborative postgraduate education and research on a more strategic footing, reflecting both the EPSRC’s priorities and those of the university itself – is achieved.”

Professor Michael Baker, Head of the Graduate School in the College of Physical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, is available for media interviews. Please contact Angela Ferguson, Communications Office, tel: (01224) 272960 to arrange.

Questions regarding CTAs in general can be directed to Alan Thomas at EPSRC (Tel: 01793 44 4352 or email: alan.thomas@epsrc.ac.uk)


Further information:

1. Collaborative Training Accounts were introduced by EPSRC in 2003. They are designed to provide a single, flexible mechanism for funding all of the EPSRC schemes which link postgraduate training with the workplace (e.g. Masters Training Packages, CASE for New Academics, Engineering Doctorate, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Research Assistant industrial Secondment and Industrial CASE). Within an Account, artificial barriers between the current different funding streams have been removed and greater managerial and financial discretion delegated to the University. This more agile funding mechanism will put collaborative training provision on a more strategic footing as well as promoting engagement between all parties (e.g. training sponsors, training providers and employers). In turn this will establish a more dynamic and responsive training environment within which there is a better match between training provision and the demand for trained individuals.

2. CTA totalling ~ £150M have been awarded to 52 Universities. The largest award was £16.5M and the smallest £200k.


3. Since 2003, the University of Aberdeen has been sub-divided (for academic purposes) into three constituent Colleges: College of Physical Sciences, College of Life Science and Medicine, and College of Arts and Social Sciences.

4. The Taught Masters Programmes supported by this EPSRC Collaborative Training Account (CTA) are:

· MSc in Safety Engineering, Reliability and Risk Management
· MSc in E-Commerce Technology
· MSc in E-Health Technology
· MSc in E-Science Technology
· MSc in Medical Physics Computing
· MRes in Materials

Eligible students admitted to the Programmes will receive payment of full fees and tax free stipends of approximately £11,500 per year.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Monday 14th of February 2005

Ref: 1587ctafunding
Contact: Angela Ferguson

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