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£3 million to help students build a better future for the UK

University of Southampton UK

The University of Southampton has been awarded £3 million to train the engineers and scientists of tomorrow that are needed to develop the UK’s essential infrastructure.

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (CDT-SIS), which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will provide postgraduate students with the interdisciplinary skills needed to ensure Britain leads the world in high-tech infrastructure research, construction and management.

The new CDT, which was announced today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt. Hon George Osborne MP, will focus particularly on the vital infrastructure associated with transport, water and energy, and the interactions between them.

Starting this September, 50 CDT students (5 cohorts of 10 students) will be funded for four years. The programme includes technical and transferable skills training as well as a research element, which are relevant to the challenges faced by engineers working with sustainable infrastructure. The Centre will also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, build interdisciplinary relationships between teams in the University and forge lasting links with industry.

Professor William Powrie, Dean of Engineering and the Environment and Director of CDT-SIS, says: “We are delighted that the EPSRC has recognised the ground-breaking work on essential infrastructure being carried out at Southampton in this way. The CDT will enable us to educate and train, in collaboration with our industry partners, a new generation of engineers and scientists with the technical skills, knowledge and confidence needed to provide the UK with sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems, now and into the future.”

Research carried out through the CDT will extend and enhance the work of the University’s National Infrastructure Laboratory, aimed at adaptation to the effects of climate change, more intensive use and the smart maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure, as well as the cost-effective design and construction of new infrastructure. This work is currently supported by a number of national and international industry partners including Network Rail, Mott MacDonald, National Grid, RWE Power, EDF, SSE, Thames Water, Southern Water and HS2.

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), adds: “We have been working hard with universities and partners to ensure that as many centres as possible can be supported.

“The CDT model has proved highly popular with universities and industry and these new Centres will mean that the UK is even better placed to maintain the vital supply of trained scientists and engineers.”

The new CDTs come on top of the 91 Centres previously announced by the EPSRC in November 2013 and January 2014, including five new CDTs involving Southampton.

This latest Government investment in a further 1100 students through an additional 22 CDTs, brings the total investment in CDTs to over £500 million.

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