£20 million government award marks Midlands’ bio-economy strengths

£20 million government award marks Midlands’ bio-economy strengths

From advanced biology to crop improvements and the science of sheep health – new government award for doctoral training partnership

A consortium of Midlands research-active universities has just been awarded research studentships worth over £20 million to build on the Midlands’ already significant bio-economy and success in life sciences and agricultural research. The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership 2020 (MIBTP2020) is led by the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick , in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University. The funding comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council arm of the Government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding organisation. This award will be matched by the universities in the partnership to fund a total of 295 doctoral students (59 per year) over the next 5 years. Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick said: “We are pleased to see that this funding promotes collaboration across the Midlands and pools together ideas, equipment, skills and facilities to drive Midlands bioscience forward. Together we will be able to open up new avenues of research, by combining our interdisciplinary strengths and advances in: artificial intelligence and machine learning, state-of-the-art technology facilities for measurement, imaging and analysis, access to sustainable agriculture and food and ecosystems, links to industry and the public and much, much more.” The Director of MIBTP2020, Dr Vardis Ntoukakis, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick said: “We are delighted to announce this new partnership to catalyse bioscience across the Midlands. It brings together research talent and resources to train up even more research talent for the burgeoning bio-economy and the world-leading life sciences industries and laboratories in our region.” Announcing the DTP award, Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “The success of the UK’s science sector and the consequent benefits to society and the economy relies on great researchers doing great work. Our Doctoral Training Partnerships have already supported the training of hundreds of early career scientists working at the cutting edge of biology and biotechnology. “By continuing to fund, through this significant £170 million investment, vital training of the next generation of researchers we will help ensure that the UK consolidates its position as world-leader in this crucial sector.” Professor Alec Cameron, Chair of the Board of Midlands Innovation said: “It is fantastic to see the announcement of this new collaborative Doctoral Training Partnership which includes four members of the Midlands Innovation university consortium. The DTP builds upon a strong heritage of life sciences research and collaboration across the Midlands and further strengthens the ties between our institutions.”

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