Doctoral Training Centre

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Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs; also called Centres for Doctoral Training[1]) are centres for managing the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD-funded degrees in the United Kingdom. Typical UK PhD students take three years to complete their doctoral research under the guidance of an academic supervisor or small supervisory team, and tend to be located within an existing research group. By contrast, each DTC involves a UK university (or a small number of universities) in delivering a four-year doctoral training programme to a significant number of PhD students organised into cohorts. Each Centre targets a specific area of research, and also emphasises transferable skills training.


Initially, DTCs were regarded as a strategic mechanism for increasing capacity in interdisciplinary research activities such as the life sciences interface and complexity science, areas that were difficult to locate within a traditional University's departmental organisation. By 2009, the EPSRC had widened its focus, announcing funding for 50 new DTCs spanning its entire remit.[2][3] In 2011, following the lead of the EPSRC, the ESRC announced doctoral studentships will be exclusively allocated to a network of 21 accredited DTCs.[4]

By 2012 the model was adopted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in their second call for Block Grant Partnerships, ultimately funding 11 Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and a further 7 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) established with a first intake of students in October 2014.

The Economic and Social Research Council DTCs[edit]

Examples of EPSRC DTCs[edit]

The Chemical Biology Doctoral Training Centre at Imperial College London, directed by Professor Richard Templer, is run by the Chemical Biology Centre (CBC), a joint venture of Imperial College London, The Institute for Cancer Research and the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK. The MRes in the Chemical Biology of Health & Disease is the first part of the training course, consisting of a one-year interdisciplinary research project, taught courses in biochemistry and biomolecular techniques, specialist lectures in transferable skills and group discussion sessions. The second part consists of a 3-year PhD degree.

The DTC in Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, directed by Dr. James A. Bednar, focuses on training PhD students from the engineering and physical sciences. In the first year, students are trained in neuroscience alongside general MSc students in Neuroscience, as well as taking specialist courses. After a summer project, leading to an MRes in Neuroinformatics, students propose 3-year interdisciplinary PhD projects.

The Engineering Doctoral Training Centre in Urban Sustainability and Resilience is based at UCL and directed by Professor Marek Ziebart. Students work in conjunction with an industrial partner over four-years to complete their PhD qualification. In addition to completing the PhD thesis and gaining a doctorate, students also learn transferable skills via taught courses provided by UCL and the London Business School.

The Cambridge Centre for Analysis (CCA) is a Centre for Doctoral Training which offers a PhD course in mathematical analysis at the University of Cambridge, directed by Professor James R. Norris and Professor Arieh Iserles. The first year of the CCA PhD is devoted to three taught courses and mini research projects.Years two to four of the course focus on the PhD dissertation.

MIGSAA is the Maxwell Institute Graduate School in Analysis and Its Applications. it is an EPSRC-sponsored Centre for Doctoral Training which offers a PhD course in a wide range of topics across pure and applied mathematics. This CDT is a collaboration of the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University and is based in Edinburgh, UK.

AHRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs)[edit]

AHRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)[edit]

  • AHRC Doctoral Programme in Celtic Languages
  • BGP2 Heritage Consortium
  • CEELBAS (Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies) AHRC Consortium
  • London Doctoral Design Consortium (LDOC)
  • Northumbria-Sunderland Consortium
  • The 3D3 Consortium
  • The Design Star Consortium: 'strength in diversity'