University of York chosen in £179m PhD pilot to boost research and innovation

11th March 2020

University of York chosen in £179m PhD pilot to boost research and innovation

A NEW £1million pilot scheme is being launched which could see employees from regional and national industries studying for PhDs in York.

Up to eight funded places will be available at the University of York for people from partner businesses who are working in chemical and biochemical industries.


They would work with academics in the departments of chemistry and biology.

The University of York will develop the skills of research scientists and employees working in the chemicals industry to help chemical businesses transform their current manufacturing practices, so they are more efficient and sustainable.

York is one of only four UK pilot projects, with the first group of students due to begin their studies in the city in autumn.

The scheme is the first of its type at the University of York, and was announced by the Government as part of a £179m funding package to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders.

It is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

York has also been awarded £2.6m by EPSRC to fund a further 33 PhDs in engineering and the physical and mathematical sciences.

Dr Avtar Matharu, from the university’s department of chemistry, will lead the project.

He said: “This is a new model of academic-industry partnership that offers a pathway into doctoral study for employees who have industrial experience, but may not have traditional academic qualifications.

“Our approach is very personal and respects the needs of the employer, employee and academic supervisor.

“Doctoral training opens up options for further career advancement but it also offers benefits for industry in terms of increased productivity and the introduction of new, more sustainable manufacturing processes to support a more sustainable, circular economy.”

Partners in the York project include Nestle, Unilever, speciality chemicals company Croda and FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDBK).

Other partners include University of York subsidiary the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC); BioVale; and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.

Univeristy vice chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery said they were delighted to be able to open up doctoral training to people in industry.

“This project enables us to share our considerable research expertise in a way that benefits individuals – but also benefits the wider regional and national economy by opening up new insights into productivity and sustainability.”

For the full story please see the York Press website.