Boost for bioscientists

The University has received a substantial financial boost that will go towards the training of a new generation of researchers to tackle pertinent issues in bioscience research.

Approximately £3 million will be invested in the training and development of at least 30 doctoral students for the new Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). The funds have been donated by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Graduates on the four-year DPhil programme will work on problems spanning various areas of the biological sciences. Such issues included developing new sources of bioenergy and cleaner industries, ensuring everyone has access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, and how the understanding of cell biology can improve lifelong health and well-being.

Professor Alex Kacelnik, co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP, said: “By incorporating a first year of interdepartmental research experience, our new doctoral training program will arm graduate students with an invaluable range of transferable skills and a strong basis for their doctoral research.”

Students will carry out two 12-week research projects before deciding on the direction of their DPhil research. In addition, they will have the opportunity of a three-month professional internship to gain direct experience of the skills needed to succeed in a bioscience-related career.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and Skills, said: “We believe that this approach is a great way of doing things, enabling us to support the very best students working in the most important areas from food security through to crucial underpinning bioscience.”

Leung Szi Kay, a biochemist at Teddy Hall, was open to this new programme. She said: “The researchers and DPhil students aren’t paid or supported well enough as it is, so it is good that this programme aims to provide the graduate students with the support they should have. Perhaps it will attract more people to come forward and, in a place such as Oxford, engage in cutting-edge research.”