BSc (Hons) Human Biosciences student using lab equipment to do research.

Plymouth University is among 13 institutions nationally joining forces to launch a new kind of doctoral training programme.

Created in response to industry needs, and with a view to promoting the UK’s economic growth and productivity, the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) is the largest multi-partner and only nationwide doctoral training initiative of its kind.

It will build on the research strengths and industry-focused ethos of the universities involved, and aims to produce independent, highly-employable researchers with the expertise and skills in strategically-important research areas.

The first DTA will be in applied biosciences for health and will start in October 2015. It offers fully funded postgraduate programmes, an expert network of support and improved employment opportunities for PhD researchers.

The universities involved are all members of the University Alliance and Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said:

“Bioscience is a growing industry where the UK has a competitive advantage. The recent Research Excellence Framework results demonstrated that Alliance universities have real strength in bioscience and healthcare research. We hope our new DTA will give PhD students the expertise and skills that industry needs and contribute to the productivity of this sector.”

Dr John Martin, Head of Research Support and Development in Plymouth University’s Graduate School, added:

“As a university, we have a global reputation for providing outstanding opportunities for postgraduate researchers. We already offer fully-funded studentships across all our academic areas, giving graduates the opportunity to work alongside world-leading experts and using the latest equipment and facilities. This new initiative will help us to expand that offering and encourage more graduates to consider Plymouth for the next phase of their learning and development.”

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, nearly two-thirds of the University’s research was graded as world-leading or of international quality, making it a top 50 UK research institution.

It followed the 2014 CWTS Leiden Rankings, when it was named among the top 100 universities globally (and top 20 in the UK) for the quality and influence of its research, with the rankings measuring scientific impact and involvement in scientific collaboration.

From October, two PhD places will be offered at each institution on the programme, with the DTA PhD students forming a cohort of 26 in the first year, 52 in the second year and grow to 78 over the three-year programme.

As well as benefitting from the world-class facilities, supervisors and support at their home institution, the PhD students will be joining a much broader community – where they can enjoy the collaborative power, expertise and reach of the Doctoral Training Alliance.

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