Science and technology projects: Industrial CASE studentship

Apply for funding to provide training for a PhD student at your organisation.

You must be an eligible research organisation. Training must be provided jointly with a non-academic organisation.

The project must fall within the STFC core science programme in one of:

  • astronomy
  • solar and planetary science
  • particle physics
  • particle astrophysics and cosmology
  • nuclear physics
  • accelerator science.

Who can apply

Proposals should be submitted by a supervisor from a research organisation eligible to be the academic partner through Je-S.

Proposals may be led by either the academic supervisor at an eligible UK university or research institute or supervisor/supervisors at the non-academic partner organisation.

The application process must be completed by the academic partner, who will then be the recipient of the award.

Before preparing and submitting a proposal it is essential you ensure the non-academic partner and academic institution are both eligible.

Organisations eligible for research council funding cannot act as a non-academic partner. In most cases, the non-academic partner will be a company and must have an established UK-based research or commercial production capability.

Organisations eligible to receive STFC grant funding and those independent research organisations approved as eligible to hold grants may act as the academic partner, but not as the non-academic partner. Non-university academic-related partners would need to host the studentship in conjunction with the university where the student would be registered.

Other UK-based organisations (including UK subsidiaries of foreign firms) may act as the non-academic partner if they can provide students with distinctive research training and experience not available in an academic setting.

In exceptional cases, organisations based overseas may be eligible. However they must have an established UK-based research or production capability and be able to provide the student with an opportunity to gain skills not currently available in the UK.

Academic departments must hold STFC studentship accreditation or submit an accreditation application with their proposal. For further information, please contact studentships@stfc.ukri.org.

What we're looking for

The Industrial CASE studentship collaborative training competition gives PhD students experience outside a purely academic environment.

The competition provides support for students working on projects that involve joint supervision by a member of staff at an academic or related institution and an employee of a non-academic organisation such as a UK industrial firm, public sector organisation or charity.

The projects must fall within the STFC core science programme in astronomy, solar and planetary science, particle physics, particle astrophysics and cosmology, nuclear physics and accelerator science or must aim to apply technologies or techniques developed within the programme into other areas.

The primary aim of Industrial CASE is to provide the student with training that is high quality, that involves experience outside a purely academic environment and that seeks to further the STFC core science programme or to apply the knowledge and capability developed within the programme to areas where it will have a societal or economic impact.

STFC will, for all CASE studentships, provide an enhancement to the student stipend of £1,615 (compared with other STFC studentships).

Industrial CASE-plus studentships

The Industrial CASE-plus studentship competition extends the Industrial CASE competition to help students become more effective in promoting technology and knowledge transfer, should their chosen career path take them into either academic research or industry.

For the first three and a half years of the award, Industrial CASE-plus operates in the same way as the Industrial CASE competition. The main difference is that the student spends a further year on the premises of the non-academic partner, working full-time as an employee and gaining further technological training.

Non-academic partner responsibilities

Industrial CASE awards are for a minimum of three and a half years. During the period of the award, the student is required to spend a period on the premises of the non-academic partner.

For a three and a half year award, the cumulative period should be no less than nine months but this could be spread over the period of the studentship and would not normally exceed 18 months. The time spent during this period should be beneficial to the student, with the non-academic partner providing access to training, facilities and expertise not available in the student’s academic setting.

The non-academic partner is required to take part in recruitment and monitoring of the student and to maintain active contact with the student and academic supervisor throughout the period of the studentship. Non-academic partners (excluding SMEs) are required to make a financial contribution to both the student and the project. It must include:

  • a minimum annual contribution to the academic research organisation towards the cost of the project of £1,400
  • all additional expenses incurred by the student as a direct result of attendance at the premises of the non-academic partner, such as the cost of travel and accommodation (including the cost of flights in the case of overseas companies)
  • all additional expenses incurred due to the use of equipment and facilities, costs associated with conference and meeting attendance, and consumables
  • a minimum annual contribution to the student of £2,760.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

There is no longer a requirement for SMEs to make a contribution to the academic research organisation or to the student’s stipend. These costs will instead be provided by STFC. SMEs would still be expected to fund the additional accommodation and travel costs associated with attending the non-academic partner and additional expenses incurred due to the use of equipment and facilities. SMEs can make additional financial contributions.

The definition of an SME is:

  • the company must have a staff headcount of less than 250
  • the company must have a turnover not exceeding €50 million or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

Industrial CASE-plus studentships only

During the additional year, the student is employed by the non-academic partner at a salary equivalent to that of a new STFC postdoctoral researcher. STFC will contribute 50% of the salary cost incurred by the non-academic partner (up to a maximum STFC contribution of £14,250). STFC will not commence funding for the additional year until the PhD thesis has been submitted.

How to apply

Submitting an application via Je-S

Proposals should be submitted by a supervisor from a research organisation eligible to be the academic partner through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.
On the Je-S homepage, please select ‘Documents’ followed by ‘Create New Document’.

From the drop down list select:

  • council: STFC
  • document type: studentship proposal
  • scheme: Industrial CASE
  • call: Industrial CASE 2021/Industrial CASE-plus 2021

Project details (up to 150 characters)

Assign a reference to this proposal so that it is easily identifiable to you in the ‘Studentship Proposal – Current Documents’ menu within Je-S.

Title

Please give the project title for your proposal.

Research organisation

The lead organisation is the academic institution and is responsible for the submission of the proposal.

Please enter the department within which the project will be based.

Grant holder

The lead supervisor of the project at the academic institution. Give details of the person to whom all STFC correspondence should be sent to regarding the processing and outcome of the proposal and to whom any related queries should be directed.

Project summary (up to 4,000 characters)

Please provide a description of the proposed project and the relevance of the project to STFC’s remit in a manner for a non-specialist reader. This summary will be made publicly available if the proposal is funded. Please ensure that your proposal project is within remit prior to submission.

Please include details of your collaborating partner.

This summary should be considered as the ‘abstract’ for your proposal. The 4,000 character limit is an agreed length for all proposals on Je-S. Please do not aim to use this limit. The Case for Support form is intended for the detailed description of the proposal.

Documents required

Industrial CASE proposals require two additional document attachments:

  • an Industrial CASE ‘case for support’ proforma
  • non-academic partner or company details.

Industrial CASE-plus proposals require three additional document attachments:

  • an Industrial CASE ‘case for support’ proforma
  • non-academic partner or company details
  • CASE-Plus document.

All mandatory attachments must be completed using the standard STFC templates, found under additional information (except the CASE-Plus document). No other attachments to those required will be considered. The documents must be submitted as PDF attachments and written as per STFC specific requirements. Standard Arial 11pt is the preferred font for STFC.
The required attachments must be submitted with the project proposal proforma in Je-S. We will not accept stand-alone documents.

Proposals must be received by 16:00 on 30 September 2021.

Applicants should ensure proposals are submitted to their institution’s approval pool a minimum of five working days in advance of this deadline. This enables institution checks to be carried out prior to final submission to us.

How we will assess your application

The key assessment criterion will be the overall quality of training offered by the academic institution and the proposed non-academic partner.

The assessment panel will not necessarily be experts in your field. Therefore please pitch your application, particularly your case for support, to a non-specialist audience drawn from the broad fields of astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics. The proposal must:

  • be of acceptable technical and quality
  • have a high enough level of industrial collaboration and support
  • have an acceptable project management plan to be considered for funding.

The project

The panel will consider:

  • is the proposed project well-aligned to STFC’s core programme?
  • is the project of sufficient quality for a PhD project?
  • is the project achievable for the student in the timeframe and are the milestones realistic?
  • what is innovative about this project?
  • is there an explanation of the risks (technical, environmental), how they will be tackled and alternative approaches that may be used in contingency?

Impact plan

The panel will consider:

  • what economic, social and environmental benefits, beyond that of the investigator’s immediate professional circle, is the project expected to deliver?

Research environments, training and support

The panel will consider:

  • what is the overall quality of the academic research environment and training programme to be made available to the student?
  • does the academic partner show a level of commitment to the studentship and provide interactions with other students and researchers?
  • what is the overall quality of the non-academic environment and the research training programme to be made available to the student by the non-academic partner?
  • what facilities does the non-academic environment provide for research training and does the proposed project relate to the facilities available?

Management and monitoring

The panel will consider:

  • what is the overall quality of the proposed management of the student with the non-academic partner?
  • are there suitable arrangements in place for supervision of the student at both the academic and non-academic partners?
  • are there provisions in place for monitoring progress?

Collaboration

The panel will consider:

  • has a case been made for the collaboration?
  • does the application demonstrate a robust partnership?
  • how will the student benefit from the collaboration?
  • how will the awarding of a studentship benefit the academic partner?
  • how will the awarding of a studentship benefit the non-academic partner?
  • are there suitable intellectual property rights arrangements in place?
  • are there specific details on specific training that will be carried out when the student is on placement at the non-academic partner which could not be carried out at the academic partner?

Industrial CASE-plus only

The panel will consider:

  • how does the project in the additional year enhance the work of the previous three and a half years in terms of time, cost, quality and achievement?
  • what additional technological training will the student receive?
  • how will the student become more effective in promoting knowledge transfer?
  • how will the awarding of the additional year benefit the academic and non-academic partner?

The panel will score each application and meet via video teleconference to agree a ranked list at the end of November 2021. It is expected that decisions will be announced early January 2022.

Contact details

For queries, please contact studentships@stfc.ukri.org.

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