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Queen Mary to launch innovative doctoral training programme in Data Science and Engineering

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have awarded £1.6m funding to Queen Mary University of London for a programme to encourage people from non-academic backgrounds to pursue doctoral training.

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Queen Mary to launch innovative doctoral training programme in Data Science and Engineering
Queen Mary to launch innovative doctoral training programme in Data Science and Engineering

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Data-Centric Engineering, forms part of the UKRI’s DTP Doctoral Mobility Pilot, which aims to increase mobility across the industry and academic sectors and enhance research skills of individuals from industry and other non-academic backgrounds.

The programme will offer a professional doctorate qualification focused on workplace-based applied research, co-created with industry partners.

By adopting a novel recruitment, selection and training process, the programme plans to widen participation by targeting talented graduates who left higher education three or more years ago but faced barriers to further doctoral study.

Opening up the doors of opportunity

The new programme aims to remove the top three barriers known to prevent movement between industry and academic sectors, which are: financial barriers preventing individuals from undertaking PhD study, doctoral programmes that are not well adapted to both industry and individual career aspirations, and a lack of self-confidence.

The recruitment process will focus on attracting two types of graduates, Professional Doctoral-Scholars (PDS) currently employed in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions with industry partners, and Enterprise Doctoral-Scholars (EDS), individuals who faced financial or other barriers that prevented them from continuing on to doctoral study at the end of their degree.

To address financial barriers enhanced stipends will be offered to talented graduates who left academic study three or more years ago.

By creating pre-application workshops and providing training to students on the programme, the pilot will also address self-confidence issues that commonly prevent students from undertaking doctoral study.  

Dr Eram Rizvi, Deputy Dean for Research at Queen Mary and programme director, said: “This programme aims to create new routes to doctoral research by employing new recruitment processes and training approaches. Through this scheme, we will support the expansion of the research talent pool and help to increase the diversity of highly-skilled scientists in data science and engineering.” 

Addressing the skills gap

Projects on the programme will be co-supervised by academic and industry partners to support sustained engagement between the two sectors.

Students will therefore benefit from both access to world-class researchers and facilities at Queen Mary, and applied research projects based in partner organisations, IBM, BT, Baxter Healthcare, Plextek, TWI, QinetiQ and the BBC.

Through the programme, Queen Mary will look to work closely with Tower Hamlets, Hackney Newham and Lewisham London borough councils to help broaden the skills pool in East London.

Professor Wen Wang, Queen Mary’s Vice-Principal and Executive Dean for Science and Engineering, said: “Our industry partners have expressed their experiences of skill gaps in applications of data science and engineering, and there is a need to improve efforts to embed researchers within industry organisations. The novel training model proposed by this programme will help to address shortages in applied research skills in these areas by upskilling people from non-academic backgrounds.”

“This innovative programme aligns closely with Queen Mary’s strategic aims to increase industrial partnerships and be the most inclusive university of its kind and we will look to capitalise on our cutting-edge research, existing productive industrial partnerships, and success in recruiting from non-traditional backgrounds to support this new doctoral training scheme.”

More about the programme

Applications for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Data-Centric Engineering are expected to open in April 2020.

Several colleagues across Queen Mary, Professor Mark Sandler (Partnerships Director), Professor Nick Bryan-Kinns (Recruitments/Student Experience Director), Dr Jun Chen (Training Director) and Ms Zi Parker (Doctoral College Manager), will support programme director Dr Eram Rizvi to deliver this programme.

For media information, contact:

Sophie McLachlan
Faculty Communications Manager (Science and Engineering)
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