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Major funding for OU research degrees in STEM subjects

Engineering student

The OU has received just under £700,000 to expand its research degree capacity as part of the government’s investment of £179 million to support the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

The funding has been awarded to the OU from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to enable doctoral students to research topics in:

  • Engineering
  • IT, Systems Sciences and Software Engineering
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics

The Doctor Training Programme (DTP), led by Helen Sharp, Professor of Software Engineering in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, plans to use the funding for:

  • Up to 14 PhD studentships across two cohorts, which will start in October 2020. Match funding will be provided from the OU and from external sources predominantly from industry.
  • Up to two Doctoral Prizes
  • Up to eight internships

“We asked staff to provide relevant project proposals at the beginning of the year, and we received a wide set of proposals, covering a range of EPS (engineering and physical sciences) subject areas such as AI, cybersecurity, plastics, energy, remote sensing, big data, mathematics, biophysics and quantum technologies, with application areas in aeronautics, healthcare, genetics and pollution,” said Professor Sharp.

 “Exactly which areas will benefit from the funding depends on the applicants we attract. Internships and prizes will also fall within these areas, but this will not be decided until next year.”

Dr Rachael Luck, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, continued: “We are very pleased to be receiving this PhD investment as recognition of our successful track record of bidding to EPSRC. This investment will grow our research degree capacity. Developing a pipeline of research graduates is important to strengthen both the research capacity and culture of the OU, as well as the future employment prospects of our graduates, in whichever direction they take their world-leading research next. The OU enables people to realise their potential at all levels, to grow a highly-skilled workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

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