Data science and cybersecurity are among the key tenets of a new PhD programme, backed to the tune of £179m, which is part of a UK Government initiative designed to enhance research in key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields.
The funding takes the form of Doctoral Training Partnerships, which will see the Government support up to 11,000 students through PhDs at 40 UK universities.
Initially there will be four pilot projects, encouraging novel research into cybersecurity and defence systems at the University of Southampton; enhancing data science research at Queen Mary University of London; research into sustainable technologies at Brunel University London; and developing efficient and sustainable chemical manufacturing at the University of York.
Further programmes will be rolled out at other universities over the next two years as the Government seeks to build a post-Brexit economy that is fuelled by technology and finance.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s funding will support the talented people we have in this country to study these vital subjects, develop technologies for the future and support the UK’s status as a science superpower."
Some of the funding will also be spent on attracting and supporting candidates from non-academic backgrounds, and the Government has also announced an £8.9m package to continue funding existing science education programmes in the UK.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson added: “Making sure that the next generation has the scientific skills to meet the world’s needs – from developing green technologies to curing illnesses – couldn’t be more important.
“That’s why we continue to invest in science programmes in our schools and ensure that anyone, regardless of their background, can participate.”