CÚRAM Part of UK-Ireland Joint Initiative Investment in Training Students

Monday, 4 February 2019

Researcher in CÚRAM Lab at NUI Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
Researcher in CÚRAM Lab at NUI Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Centres for Doctoral Training to link world-leading SFI Research Centres and UK Higher Education Institutions 

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is one of seven SFI Research Centres to have received funding for Doctoral Training as part of a UK-Ireland joint initiative to invest €38.6 million in training future innovation leaders. 

The award has been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation. The investment funding was announced today (4 February 2019) by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD.

CÚRAM will work in collaboration with University of Glasgow, Aston and Birmingham, to establish lifETIME: an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine. 

lifETIME will train future Engineering and Physical Science innovation leaders for the non-animal technology and regenerative medicine sectors. Those trained will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery. The lifETIME Centres for Doctoral Training will train 84 engineering and physical science scientists, clinical fellows and cell engineers across three world-leading centres that specialise in: fundamental bioengineering (Glasgow); microscale bioprocess translation/application (Birmingham and Aston); and medical devices (CÚRAM). 25 of these will be CÚRAM based. The first intake of students will begin in September 2019 with CÚRAM enrolling five students each year.

Globally, a strong industrial and clinical need exists to create humanised, non-animal technologies, which are bioengineered, cellular, scaffolds/on-chip systems that can be used in therapeutic discovery, safety testing, functional validation and in some cases in the production of cellular therapies. To meet this need, there is an urgent need to train Engineering and Physical Science students to communicate effectively with, and work alongside, biomedical scientists, and vice versa, and such training will also drive innovation and contribute to the Irish and UK bioeconomy.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The establishment of this Centre for Doctoral Training in collaboration with colleagues at University of Glasgow, Aston University and University of Birmingham will produce the next generation of doctoral level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. This unique programme will train leaders who will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “I am pleased to announce this new collaboration that will provide training opportunities for doctoral students in both the UK and Ireland. These new PhD training initiatives will provide opportunities for talented students in SFI Research Centres across Higher Education Institutions. Cultivating and maintaining positive research and development collaborations between the Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of the world, is a priority for the Irish Government, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is thrilled to be working with the EPSRC on this programme.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to collaborate with EPSRC on this excellent programme. Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships. The level of investment in the Centres for Doctoral Training is significant, and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers. I would like to congratulate the seven SFI Research Centres on their success in this programme and look forward to working with EPSRC over the coming years.”

The Centres for Doctoral Training represent one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills, supporting over seventy centres that will equip the next generation of doctoral level researchers across Engineering and Physical Sciences. The seven joint awards between Ireland and the UK will enable doctoral students based in Irish institutions to benefit from training opportunities and collaboration with Higher Education Institutions in the UK. 

-Ends- 

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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