A new landscape for doctoral training

The announcement of BBSRC and NERC’s new collaborative doctoral landscape award marks an important step in UKRI’s transition to a collective talent funding model.

As 2024 gets into full swing, so too does UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) journey toward a more harmonised talent funding model across the research and innovation ecosystem.

Since making this commitment in May 2022, UKRI has invested significant time and effort transitioning the organisation to new ways of working.

This culminated in the launch of UKRI’s new Doctoral Investment Framework in January 2024, which introduced two streamlined award categories that we know today as doctoral landscape and focal awards.

A strategic priority

Anyone familiar with UKRI’s five-year strategy will know that people and careers are right up there on the list of high priorities.

For UKRI, transitioning to a collective talent model that reduces bureaucratic hurdles in funding access and management represents a crucial step in strengthening our offer to attract, develop and retain world-class people and talent.

Streamlined and efficient funding

As we establish new ways of working around the delivery of our talent investment programmes, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) collaborative doctoral landscape award funding opportunity is the first to go live.

Replacing our existing doctoral training partnership awards, applicants applying for the new doctoral landscape award have the flexibility to design doctoral landscape programmes tailored to either BBSRC or NERC disciplinary training needs.

For those seeking a comprehensive approach, a joint BBSRC-NERC award is available. This not only simplifies the application process by allowing a single bid, but it also streamlines management for successful training grant holders.

Unlocking innovation

We are actively seeking innovative and inclusive doctoral landscape programmes that prepare students for cutting-edge research while equipping them with essential skills applicable to a diverse range of careers.

With this opportunity, we aim to drive UKRI’s ambition to support a thriving, creative and agile research and innovation system that creates opportunities and benefits for all.

We are therefore seeking collaborative engagement with our partners to design programmes that facilitate universal participation and benefit for all involved.

Demonstrating excellence

Your application is not merely a formality, it is your opportunity to demonstrate that your doctoral landscape programme is exceptional. As such, your application should:

  • demonstrate a proactive commitment to establishing and sustaining a positive, inclusive and supportive environment for both students and staff
  • showcase a scientifically excellent setting, superior research capabilities and pioneering training models that incorporates non-academic partners, distinguishing it from others within its respective field

We urge our communities to seize this opportunity and actively participate in shaping the future of the doctoral training landscape.

Together, we are embarking on a journey that fosters excellence, innovation, inclusivity and a research environment that makes a meaningful impact.

Got burning questions about the doctoral landscape award funding opportunity?

Then register your place at our webinar on 27 February 2024 at 11:00am UK time and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.

Ready to unlock innovation and talent with a doctoral landscape award? Find out how to apply: doctoral landscape award 2024.

Further information

Doctoral landscape award 2024 at a glance:

  • applications open: 30 January 2024, 12:00pm UK time
  • live webinar: 27 February 2024, 11:00am UK time
  • notification of intent deadline: 7 March 2024, 4:00pm UK time
  • application closing date: 30 April 2024, 4:00pm UK time

Top image:  Credit: poba, E+ via Getty Images

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