Nature's Daniel Cressey says that "recognizing that few graduates spend their entire careers at the bench, research funders and education authorities are reshaping the PhD to train students in non-science skills such as networking as well as research." He adds that the UK has led the charge to change, adopting a doctoral training center, or DTC, model — "a university-based hub focusing on highly specific areas," in which "courses last four years rather than the three of a standard UK PhD, and include formal coursework as well as lab experience."
The UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has opened more than 50 such centers, and "this year, for the first time, it has funded more students through centres than through research grants," Cressey says. EPSRC Associate Director Neil Viner tells Nature that "the world of research is changing, has changed, and will continue to change. I see centres as being a way that we respond to that."