USW joins €6.5m initiative to fund student mobility

The University of South Wales (USW) is the only Welsh university will provide opportunities at doctoral level for students as part of the University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance. Neil Gibson, Sept 2018

The University of South Wales (USW) is set to be the only Welsh university that will provide more opportunities at doctoral level for students as part of the University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA), following a multi-million-euro award from the European Union (EU).

University Alliance’s DTA3 COFUND project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sktodowska-Curie grant.

The funding will enable student mobility and integrate the DTA’s three disciplinary areas across applied biosciences for health, energy, and social policy. It will create more than 80 fellowships at 15 participating institutions – including USW – to develop a cohort of early-stage researchers over two intakes. 

University Alliance’s successful bid was the only winning British entry in the funding round - out of five UK-based applications - and is one of eight programmes across Europe to win support narrowed down from 29 bidders. It scored the highest out of any successful bid in the ‘impact’, ‘excellence’, and ‘quality and efficiency’ judging categories. 

USW will be welcoming four PhD Fellows to undertake projects in the areas of energy and social policy.

The DTA, which is the UK’s largest doctoral training programme of its kind, was launched in 2015 to create a new model closely aligned to industrial strategy and priority challenges, producing industry-ready graduates.

Collaboration with industry and civil society is at the heart of the DTA, with business and third sector representatives, including the Big Lottery Fund, Philips International, and Legal & General, providing external quality assurance and monitoring.

The flexibility of the DTA model means it is well aligned to the need for more opportunities at doctoral level for students from a wide range of backgrounds – the diversity profile of DTA students compares favourably to Research Council-supported schemes, across both gender and ethnicity. A higher percentage are in the 30-39 age bracket and 64% of DTA students are aged 25 or above.

Professor Julie Lydon, USW Vice-Chancellor, said: “USW is proud to be one of 15 universities leading this project. We look forward to working with the other participating universities to deliver high-quality research training to PhD Fellows in the areas of energy and social policy.

“A core USW strength is to deliver industry relevant education and research and this project will add a valuable European/international perspective, by equipping early-stage researchers, from Europe and beyond, with the expertise and knowledge to succeed on a global stage”.

University Alliance Chair Professor John Latham said: “This major external funding award is a prestigious  stamp of approval for University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) model and demonstrates its distinctiveness and strengths.

“The DTA programme responds to the needs of industry and the challenges facing society, training independent, highly-employable researchers with relevant skills and expertise to thrive in strategically important sectors.  The success of our proposal reflects that. 

“As the DTA – the UK’s largest multi-institution partnership of its kind – goes from strength to strength, it is fantastic that this funding will enable the programme to attract talent from overseas and operate internationally.

“The opportunities being created will add to UK research and innovation ecosystem and help us stay competitive.”

Full details of the new opportunities available through the programme are available at