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UK Invests $200M into Training for Bioscience PhD Students

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The UK government will invest £125 million ($200.2 million) in the training and development of 1,250 new students pursuing PhDs in the life sciences, agriculture, and biotechnology, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced today.

The funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council will support the development of a generation of scientists who will help "lead the next industrial revolution" by advancing healthcare, bioenergy, and food sustainability technologies, according to BBSRC.

The money will be dispersed over five years to a number of universities and scientific institutions through doctoral training partnerships, BBSRC said.

Of the 1,250 students who will receive funding, 30 percent will study agriculture and food security topics, 20 percent will pursue industrial biotechnology and bioenergy, 10 percent will focus on the health biosciences, and the remaining 40 percent will be spread among other research areas.

"BBSRC is paving the way for an explosion in new economic sectors and bioscience that will change the way we live our lives in the 21st century. To achieve this we need to maintain our leading position in global bioscience by ensuring that the next generati¬on of scientists have the best training and skills," BBSRC Executive Director of Innovation and Skills Celia Caulcott said in a statement.

The funding will be dispersed through 12 lead organizations, most of which will coordinate with a few partner universities and institutes.

For example, The John Innes Centre, at Norwich Research Park, will receive £12.5 and will spread the funds through partnerships with the Genome Analysis Centre; the University of East Anglia; the Institute of Food Research; the Sainsbury Laboratory; Plant Bioscience Ltd; The SAW Trust; and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

TGAC Director Mario Caccamo said in a statement the center will use the funding to provide opportunities to post-grad candidates interested in working in computational biology, genomics, and bioinformatics.