Call for PhD Projects to enter IBioIC Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) PhD Programme – Call for Projects #5 competition for projects commencing October 2018.

1. Introduction

A key activity of IBioIC is the support of industrially relevant PhD Projects that bring biotechnology closer to industrialization. IBioIC currently manage a PhD portfolio which includes IBioIC and BBSRC funded projects, all delivered as part of our Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP). All IBioIC project applications are assessed by way of competition. This paper is a call for PhD Projects to enter this competition for projects commencing October 2018. It sets out the rules, processes and guidelines on how this competition will be operated.  IBioIC reserves the right to alter these processes in order to comply with the imposed timetable.  Any changes of process will be notified to all entrants.

2. Criteria for PhD Projects

For a PhD Project to be considered for funding by IBioIC it must meet the following minimum criteria:
1. Align within one or more of the five major themes of IBioIC:
a. Sustainable Feedstocks
b. Enzymes and Biocatalysis/Biotransformation
c. Cell Factory Construction and Process Physiology
d. Downstream Processing
e. Integrated Bioprocessing
2. Demonstrate industrial relevance that is met by the innovative use or application of biotechnology.
3. The Project must be championed and led by an IBioIC HEI Partner or N8 University (Appendix 2) and must be supported by at least one Industrial Partner which is evidenced through a Letter of Support. Applications with SME involvement are particularly encouraged. If any of the Industrial Partners are not Members of IBioIC at the time of the application, then all Industrial Partners must become Members before funding is awarded, with lead Industrial Partners required to become Leading or Core members. IBioIC reserve the right to instruct a hold on funding if this requirement is not met at any point throughout the duration of the Project. The Project may consist of any number of Partners so long as these criteria are met. The Industrial Partner must have a UK-based research or manufacturing facility.
4. The Industrial Partner must commit to providing a 3 to 12 month industrial placement directly relevant to the PhD project.
5. Evidence of leveraged or existing funding is essential to the application and may be used as a deciding factor in differentiating projects of similar quality.

3. Value and Funding

IBioIC will award a full PhD studentship for projects of 4 years in duration. Academic and/or Industrial Partners are responsible for all the remaining costs to the project. The in-kind and/or cash contribution from the Industrial Partner will be expected to be equivalent to at least 25% of the studentship costs as a minimum. As part of this, the Industrial Partner will be expected to cover all costs of the agreed industrial placement (travel, accommodation, lab costs etc.). Additional costs to the Academic/Industrial Partner may also include, as examples, additional consumables budget, a top-up stipend or enhanced training budget. 

The annual cost of a studentship for academic year 2017-18 is detailed below and will be confirmed or adjusted to reflect RCUK fees/ stipend level once known.

Fees:      £4,195
Stipend:     £14,553
Research Training Support Grant (RTSG):  £5,000

The studentship monies will be transferred directly to the lead academic partner organisation by BBSRC.

It is expected that £1500 per annum of the RTSG will be ring-fenced by the Academic Partner to support IBioIC cohort training activities. Evidence of spend against this requirement may be requested throughout the Project. 

Those proposed projects that have significant industrial investment may be used to differentiate between projects of sufficiently high quality.

4. Number of PhD Projects to be Awarded

The number of PhD Projects to be awarded in this fifth IBioIC PhD competition for BBSRC funded CTP studentships is eight. 

5. Cohort Training Programme

All PhDs awarded as part of this competition will be considered to be a Member of the IBioIC CTP. As a Member of the IBioIC CTP the following conditions must be met:
• A Member of the IBioIC CTP Management Team will be invited to the student recruitment interviews.
• An introductory meeting between the Academic Partner, the student and the Industrial Partner will be undertaken within the first two months of commencing the project. 
• The student must be in place no later than 1st October 2018 otherwise the Studentship will not be funded.
• A Personal Development Plan for each student must be submitted within three months of commencing the Project (developed in conjunction with IBioIC).
• PgCert Researcher Professional Development (RPD) training at the University of Strathclyde or equivalent PhD training must be completed by the student.
• The student must be released for 2 days per year in order to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) engagement in a local high school in the local authority in which the recipient is located.
• The student must be released for a minimum of 10 days per year in order for him/her to participate with other students in the cohort in training in specific Industrial Biotechnology related matters under the instruction of IBioIC.
• The recipient will provide IBioIC with a six monthly report in line with IBioIC reporting requirements. This will include a summary of progress and achievements including scientific, financial and training, in relation to the studentship.

6. How to enter

In order to enter this competition, the IBioIC Project #5 Entry Form must be completed and returned with requested supporting documentation. Appendix 3 contains instruction relating to the completion of this form which is downloaded as a separate form (Word format). The Project Lead should complete this and submit their entry to the IBioIC Skills Team (skills@ibioic.com) before 16th October 2017 (12 noon).  The intention is to keep entry requirements to a minimum whilst still supplying enough information to allow reviewers to make an informed decision on the relative merit of each project.  The Review Panel may request further information on the Project.