Seven Scottish universities are to benefit from £20.2 million of UK Government funding which will give more students the opportunity to study for a PhD and give research projects the extra staff they need to develop new ideas.
The Doctoral Training Partnerships funding will support research projects and the PhD students and will help turn new discoveries into marketable products with commercial support.
The announcement was made by the Scotland Office of the UK Government — and the seven Scottish universities involved are Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, St Andrews, Dundee and Aberdeen.
The funding will be awarded through the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the UK Government’s commitment “to uphold the UK’s excellence in science and innovation, and develop it across the whole country.”
The scheme will support new PhD students starting in October 2016 and 2017, and comes as part of a UK-wide £167 million fund for doctoral research support.
Glasgow and Strathclyde will together receive more than £9.3 million to support projects like Glasgow’s world-leading expertise in optics and imaging, which is developing more accurate diagnoses for brain conditions and other diseases.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “We are committed to securing Scotland and the UK’s position as world leaders in science and innovation.
“This new funding recognises the high quality of research in Scotland, and builds on our protection for science spending in the UK.
“These seven universities will be able to take on more Doctoral students to support their most promising research, leading to new discoveries like more accurate imaging for medical diagnoses and training Scotland’s science leaders of the future.”
Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop said: “This is a hugely important and significant funding announcement for universities in Scotland.
“Scottish universities have a strong track record and rich history in science and innovation, punching well above their weight across the world.
“This funding demonstrates the UK Government’s continued commitment to support Scotland as leading nation in science, research and innovation, as well as providing additional opportunities for our young people here in Scotland.”
Research funding is a reserved power for the UK Government, which says Scotland received 11% of all UK public research funding in 2014, “compared to its 8% share of the population.”