Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Teesside Universities are delighted to be able to offer up to 45 part-funded 3 year industrial PhD placements to eligible SMEs in the North East of England (ie Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Tees Valley). This project is funded by the Universities and European Regional Development Fund and looks to support local firms with their research and development needs, developing new products and services in key sectors and creating high quality jobs in the local economy.

Who can apply?

Businesses who wish to participate in the ERDF Industrial PhD programme must:

  • meet the EU definition of an SME
  • be located within the North East of England geographical area
  • be active in one of the key sectors for the North East
  • be financially stable
  • not exceed State Aid limits as a result of participating in the programme

The eligible key sectors are:

  • Passenger vehicle manufacturing
  • Subsea and offshore technology
  • Life sciences and healthcare/health innovation
  • Creative, digital, software and technology based services
  • Surface science
  • Ageing
  • Energy
  • Systems satellite applications
  • Energy networks
  • Materials Integration
  • Water
  • Chemicals
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • The Circular Economy

What do I receive?

The project enables a dedicated post graduate researcher to be assigned to your company working exclusively on your research needs whilst pursuing their PhD studies. This post graduate researcher has the support of experienced academics to ensure they are maximising the impact that can be made on your project and also access to world leading research facilities. The programme itself has dedicated administrative support to ensure that the process is as seamless as possible. PhD students will be required to spend up to half of their time on the business’s premises and at least half their time at the university.

Which Universities can I work with?

This offer is available from Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Teesside Universities enabling potential beneficiaries to link with the institution which can best meet their research needs. Durham University is acting as the hub for this project liaising with all of the partners to identify best fit. If you know the University you wish to work with then please indicate this on the eligibility assessment form; if you are unsure then we will get in touch and assess your institutional fit.

What are the time frames?

The ERDF IIIP studentship projects last three years. They start on 1st October 2019. SME partners who participate in the Programme are required to commit for the three years.

How to Apply

All applications for the programme should be submitted by midday on the 30th April 2019 when they will be assessed for eligibility, strategic fit and University thematic fit.

The application guidance document can be downloaded by clicking here.


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