Guest Blog | UKRI-BBSRC | Doctoral Training Partnerships

UKRI-BBSRC are currently accepting applications for Doctoral Training Partnerships. The competition is open for businesses to partner with academic organisations as Full or Associate Partners.

Maintaining a highly skilled workforce is vital to business; I can’t imagine anyone reading this blog would dispute that. Similarly indisputable is the need for business to keep up with the latest developments in research and technology. Doctoral training partnerships can help your business to achieve both of these goals, by strengthening ties with academia, shedding light on new ways of working, and increasing recruitment of multi-skilled graduates. UKRI-BBSRC believes that partnerships with the users of research are important in shaping our doctoral training programmes through better understanding of industry’s needs, concerns and aspirations. By working with companies, UKRI-BBSRC seeks to train students capable of becoming future leaders in industry.

To develop research talent and skills needed to support the UK’s bioeconomy, UKRI-BBSRC is investing £170M in doctoral training. UKRI-BBSRC‘s vision is for an innovative, inclusive and outcomes-focussed programme of doctoral training to deliver the skills needed across the UK economy. BBSRC’s remit covers key areas for BIA members, including fundamental biology, as well as development of bioinformatics and AI methods for the biological sciences, bioprocessing and medicines manufacturing, immunology, fundamental neuroscience, and microbiology.

It is anticipated that up to 15 DTPs will be awarded, each with five annual waves of student cohorts, with the first starting in 2020/21.

The competition is open for businesses to partner with academic organisations as Full or Associate Partners. As a partner, your company can, for example:

  • Inform the research and innovation topic areas where students will train
  • Recruit students onto your research projects, including placement time for the student in your company
  • Provide three month professional internships in any area of your business
  • Access the student cohort at networking and training events


Being part of a Doctoral Training Partnership will allow you to work closely with specific academic organisations and build strong relationships with them. You will be involved in the co-creation of the learning and development activities and the co-creation of research projects, giving you the opportunity to inculcate the skills that will be vital to the future of your business and the industry as a whole.

BIA member Astra Zeneca has partnered with UKRI-BBSRC on studentship training for a number of years. “The students gain a unique training experience through persistent immersion in the corporate environment, exposure to industrial research practices, and group interactions as a cohort” stated Christopher van der Walle, a Director-Fellow at MedImmune who is heavily involved with UKRI-BBSRC’s studentship programme. “Vice versa, industrial supervisors find the academic projects stimulate new ideas that drive our innovation. The benefits to industry stretch beyond the strengthening of our scientific profile through high impact publications, to include the shaping of our future bioprocesses to make better medicines for patients.”

We would encourage all BIA members who are interested in the opportunity to take part in the training of the next generation of bioscientists to contact us at We are happy to discuss options for how you can best engage with our doctoral training programmes.

Alternatively, if you would like to work with BBSRC funded students, but are not able to commit to partnering for a full 4-year studentship, you can also contact us regarding our 3-month Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) programme at

BBSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit or

UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.


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