Collaborative research projects, where the School works with public and commercial organisations, span a range of activities.
Strategic relationships are increasingly important in leveraging our research into commercial needs in order to engage in advanced research on a long-term basis. This allows a longer view to be taken by both parties, maximising benefits to all.
Examples of this can been across the work of this institution. For example, the University hosts a Rolls Royce University Technology Centre, the National Grid Power Systems Research Laboratory, an Oxford Instruments sponsored Molecular Beam Epitaxy Laboratory and, most recently, a Syngenta University Incubation Centre (UIC). In addition to this we have long term strategic research framework agreement with National Grid, EDF and Electricity North West.
Collaboration is appropriate where particular organisational research goals align with those of individual researchers.
Very often it is possible that such collaborative relationships attract additional funding from third party sources such as DEEC, Research Councils UK or the EU. This may provide a cost effective route for company research and increase the relevance and impact of the work carried out.
Although each arrangement is individual, typically such research collaborations are appropriate for longer-term projects lasting two or three years.
The School is involved in three new Centres for Doctoral Training which will provide funding for future generations of UK doctoral research students.
A variety of ways exist for companies to become involved with postgraduate students carrying out research. These may include sponsoring their own employees for part-time PhD study, or direct sponsorship of a student undertaking a PhD or an Engineering Doctorate. The Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP) offers a cost effective means to using the doctoral training route for interaction with the university.
This mode of interaction is a short-term arrangement, typically of a few weeks to few months duration, where the expertise of our academics is required to solve a specific issue faced by industry. It provides a rapid method of access to expert University researchers but is by its nature is of limited scope and duration.