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Backing the scientists of the future: funding boost for EASTBIO partnership

The next generation of UK bioscientists has received a £170 million boost from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, a part of UK Research and Innovation). The investment will fund 1,700 PhD researchers over five annual cohorts at academic institutions all over the country under the third phase of BBSRC’s Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP), with the overarching aim of developing the world-class, highly skilled workforce the UK needs for its future.

The announcement includes a £17m award to the EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership, which delivers a collaborative funding and training programme for biosciences PhD students. Built on strong collaboration between the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews, it now includes the University of Stirling, Scotland’s Rural College, the James Hutton Institute, the Moredun Research Institute, IBioIC, SULSA and the Cool Farm Alliance.

The funds awarded to EASTBIO will provide 32 PhD studentships per year beginning in autumn 2020, and additional funding will be drawn from across the partnership and industry to create a cohort of around 50-60 students per annum. These students will tackle some of the major challenges facing our planet – food security, the need for clean growth and health across the lifespan – as well as developing our fundamental understanding of biology and developing new approaches and technologies. It is also hoped that the funding will drive improvements in how EASTBIO students are supported, and enable other students to undertake PhD studies from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Dr Craig Simpson, director of the James Hutton Institute’s Postgraduate School, a participant in the EASTBIO partnership, commented: “James Hutton Institute studentships have benefited from EASTBIO funding support in the past, and we are delighted with the news that BBSRC and UKRI have renewed their support of EASTBIO.

“With more than 500 staff and 124 registered PhD students, we are one of the biggest research centres in the UK and the first of its type in Europe, and our thriving school is a testament to our commitment to providing the highest standard of training opportunities to UK and international students.”


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