Changes to NERC support for postgraduate training
NERC's new approach to investments in postgraduate training.
NERC Council has agreed a new strategic approach to supporting postgraduate training, developed as part of NERC's Training Allocation and Delivery Mechanisms Review.
The review considered how NERC should support its investment in postgraduate training and sets out some significant changes. The principal changes are driven by the need to place more emphasis on ensuring that the quality of the training environment delivers NERC's strategic needs, as defined by a set of success criteria.
As the changes are substantial, they will be phased in over a two-year period. Doctoral studentships starting in the academic years 2012/13 and 2013/14 will continue to be allocated through existing mechanisms - including algorithm, individual Open CASE and other competitive studentships.
The changes will enable NERC to implement an earlier decision by Council to recognize the distinction within the portfolio between two types of training: responsive and focused studentships:
- Responsive training is where the topic is chosen by the student/supervisor and which can be drawn from any part of NERC's remit and forms the majority of NERC support.
- Focused training ensures we provide individuals with particular, specialist skills that are linked to our strategic priorities or to priority skills needs. Whilst the training topic may be chosen by the student/supervisor, it will reflect a specific training priority which NERC has identified.
The changes NERC will make include:
- the introduction of success criteria against which NERC investments in postgraduate training can be judged;
- the replacement of current algorithm approach (where studentship allocations are simply scaled to NERC research funding) with allocation of responsive training through the establishment of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP): a smaller number of larger, longer-term grants competitively awarded. The competition will encourage partnerships between research organisations so that training best meets the success criteria, although partnership will not be mandatory.
- the establishment of a NERC Training Advisory Group (TAG): to provide advice to the NERC Executive on the strategic direction of NERC training, on particular issues concerning NERC's training priorities, and on driving up the quality of training.
- developing a more interactive approach between NERC and its training providers;
- lengthening the notional funding for a studentship from 3·5 to 4 years from academic year 14/15.
The indicative timetable for change is set out below, with further details of changes available in the summary report and full details of change (including changes to our, smaller, focused training investment) becoming available as we move through the two year period and work with the new Training Advisory Group.
Indicative timetable for TAG and DTPs
Further details of the NERC Training Advisory Group (TAG) available and nominations opened
First TAG meeting
Further details and announcement of opportunity for responsive studentships: Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP)
Closing date for DTP applications
Announcement of DTP awards
Academic Year 14/15
First DTP studentships start
All new awards move from 3·5 year to 4 year studentships
For further details about these changes and NERC's investment in postgraduate training please contact:
Tel: 01793 442540
Head of Skills and Careers