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£15M to train next wave of bioscientists

King’s is part of a consortium which has secured £15M to train the next generation of bioscientists.

Thirty PhD studentships will be available annually for the next five years in the areas of agriculture and food security, industrial biotechnology and bioenergy, health and other frontier biosciences following a £15M grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). 

The new doctoral training grant, awarded to a consortium led by UCL and including King’s College London, will account for 12% of all BBSRC-funded PhD studentships across the UK and is a significant increase on the 18 positions previously available each year.

The research aims to enable future discoveries, helping scientists to solve some of the world major challenges, including:

  • producing more food using less water, land, energy and other inputs, whilst reducing waste and environmental impacts; 
  • providing renewable energy, materials and industrial chemicals – developed from plants, bacteria, algae and fungi – to reduce dependency on fossil fuels;
  • increasing the ability of individuals to lead healthier lives, reducing pressure on the healthcare system. 

The funding will boost research partnerships across the London-based institutions who will work together to train the students. A large proportion of the students will be co-supervised by scientists from two or more of the partner institutions, namely UCL, King's College London, Queen Mary University of London, Birkbeck College, the Royal Veterinary College, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Jeremy Green, Professor of Developmental Biology at King’s and Chair of the Management Committee of the Programme, says:  "We're delighted at King's success together with its London partners in winning this substantial support from the BBSRC for PhD scientist training. Not only will the science be interdisciplinary - bringing together traditional laboratory biology with advances in computing, imaging, physics and engineering - but the programme will also be strongly inter-institutional, driving new and fruitful partnerships and synergies." 

Karen O’Brien, Vice-Principal for Education at King’s, says: "This is excellent news for King's. This award will enable us to work with our partners to train the next generation of scientists to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing human populations now and in the near future."

The announcement comes as part of a larger commitment by BBSRC to invest £125M over five years to support the training and development of 1250 PhD students in world-class bioscience to lead the next industrial revolution to help boost the economy and build on UK strengths this area.

The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Business Secretary, said: "The UK punches far beyond its weight in science and innovation globally, which is a credit to our talented scientists and first-class universities. This new funding will safeguard Britain’s status as a world leader in life sciences and agricultural technology."

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation and Skills: "Bioscience is having a massive impact on many aspects of our lives.  BBSRC is paving the way for an explosion in new economic sectors and bioscience that will change the way we live our lives in the twenty-first century. To achieve this we need to maintain our leading position in global bioscience by ensuring that the next generation of scientists have the best training and skills. This next generation of scientists are our future and we must invest in them now."

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Jenny Gimpel, PR Manager at King’s College London, on 0207 848 4334 or email jenny.gimpel@kcl.ac.uk