Fifteen new grants awarded the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) will be used to fund cutting-edge research in biotechnology.
The grants will fund PhD projects run in collaboration between universities and biotech companies.
A range of companies from SMEs to large businesses will share a combined package of £2.8m from IBioIC and the UK-wide Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The funding will allow them to use the skills of PhD students on research projects over a four-year study programme.
IBioIC’s industry-led PhD programme focuses on giving students commercial and industrial experience alongside academic research to help them succeed in industry.
Students spend up to one year working directly in the industrial biotechnology community, with the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field, build relationships and cultivate their own networks.
When the new cohort start in October 2021, the innovation centre and its partners will have supported more than 100 PhD students and this latest round of funding marks a total commitment of £11m since 2014.
Early participants have now gone on to biotechnology roles.
Ian Archer, technical director at IBioIC, said: “The industrial biotechnology community is growing at pace alongside the UK-wide drive for sustainability, and our collaborative training partnerships rightly aim to bring together industry and academia to support commercial development.
“The programme is carefully designed to help students enter the world of work, with commercial and business development modules that go beyond academic training to ensure students are industry-ready.
“We also endeavour to support students individually with a focus on personal development and wellbeing built into the programme, which is quite different to traditional PhD studies.
“The latest awards represent a significant milestone for the programme, with the combined project value now exceeding £11 million.
“Once again, we had an overwhelmingly positive response from the industry to our latest call for projects, with a range of exciting areas of research that can underpin significant steps towards building a more sustainable and circular economy.”