WHAT ARE INDUSTRIAL COLLABORATIVE AWARDS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING (iCASE) STUDENTSHIPS?
Industrial CASE studentships (Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) allow postgraduate research students to receive high quality research training in collaboration with a commercial or other non-academic partner. The studentships are part-funded by Research Councils together with the partner and include stipend, tuition fees and other project costs.
Although the eligibility criteria and partner financial contribution differ for each Research Council, the basic principle is that the partner contributes financially to the studentship (through stipend top-up and/or additional consumables). The partner can specify a research project that will be of importance to them and they must also provide a placement at their premises and a supervisor for the student.
MRC iCASE STUDENTSHIP AWARDS
Driving innovation and collaborating with industry remains at the heart of MRC strategy and delivery plans. The MRC industrial CASE (iCASE) PhD studentship scheme has for many years played a key role in this by helping develop partnerships and enabling students to benefit from a broad and unique training experience (see RCUK joint vision for collaborative training).
Given this previous success and the enormous potential that industry-academic collaboration has to offer for UK society and the economy, the MRC wish to enhance the flexibility of the MRC iCASE studentship scheme.
CHANGES TO MRC iCASE STUDENTSHIP AWARDS
The MRC recently announced a change to MRC iCASE Studentship Awards which will see studentships allocated directly to research organisations. This new approach differs from the previous system, where Project Investigators (PIs) submitted individual industrial CASE studentship proposals directly to an annual call.
Studentships will be allocated directly to research organisations starting from the 2018 intake. The new approach aims to give partner and academic organisations more control over the timescales of their collaborations, enabling industrial CASE studentship opportunities to be created in a more flexible and scalable way. The scheme remit, eligibility and start date for the new student intake – September 2018 – remains unchanged.
The MRC DTP submitted a successful institutional bid to the new call. We have been awarded 3 CASE studentships to commence in September 2019 and 2020 respectively. Please visit our Project Call Page for information on how to submit a Project Proposal for this funding opportunity.
Our collaboration with Tocris has allowed us to explore and develop innovative new tools to study how cells migrate during wound healing; certainly we would not have the expertise to undertake this without their input. Their insight and experience has been invaluable in developing the project and I know Tocris are excited about learning in more detail how their reagents can impact on biomedical research.”
Professor Maddy Parsons – iCASE studentship award with Tocris (2016 Award)
Our collaboration with Perspectum Diagnostics brings in the healthcare industry perspective, completing the interdisciplinarity of the research project that already sits between image acquisition and computational image analysis of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of cancerous liver disease, with close clinical interaction, effectively pooling data from ongoing clinical trials of all project partners. This creates exposure to the commercial software and regulatory requirements during frequent site visits, while developing new computational imaging skills; this project would not be possible without this close constellation of industry, computer scientists, MR physicist and radiologists.”
Professor Julia Schnabel – iCASE studentship award with Perspectum Diagnostics (2016 Award)
My placement was with Mindwave, a company that specialises in creating/delivering digital products and services (usually related to mental health). My main role within the team was to oversee a round of extensive updates to the research app being used for my PhD research. As part of this, with the support of the design team, I learnt some skills in graphic and user experience design, which helped me to share my vision of the app with the developer. Working within the team helped me to effectively plan and prioritise the work that needed to be done on the project in order to get a high-quality product delivered on time. As a result of the work done on the app, I hope to publish a technical paper highlighting its capabilities in the future.
My experience of the placement was great. The Mindwave team were very knowledgeable and good at providing support with any issues that arose on the project I was working on. I am extremely proud of the updates we made to the app over the time I was there, and feel we collaborated very well to produce the work.”
Thomas McGregor – iCASE PhD Student (2017 cohort)