Objectives of the Doctoral Training Alliances

Alliance universities are committed to maintaining the pipeline of relevant and diverse future high-level skills for the research and innovation ecosystem. To this end, they coordinated an investment of over £11 million over the next five years in Doctoral Training Alliances (DTAs), with plans to increase this investment further in 2017.

Recognising the value of cohort-based learning and employer co-designed training programmes, University Alliance launched its first DTA in 2015, in Applied Biosciences for Health. A second DTA in Energy launched in autumn 2016, in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) for Infrastructure Systems and a third DTA in Social Policy launched in autumn 2017. Further DTAs are in development.

DTA strategic objectives

  • Excellence in postgraduate research training with five core values: advanced technical, subject-specific and generic skills with a focus on critical reasoning, research integrity, socio-economic context and impact.
  • Development of a mobile, nationwide and international community with broad connections to professional networks, industry and commerce.
  • Focus on communication and translation of applied research within academia, with industry (particularly SMEs) and to the general public.
  • The opportunity for research training staff to build a national network and develop themselves through interacting with a wider staff and student base across many universities and through the connections to external professional networks, industry and commerce.
  • DTA supervisors as integral part of the training programme, including tailored opportunities to foster interaction and form mutually beneficial research partnerships.

Benefits for students

  • Enhanced training environment through peer-to-peer support
  • Targeted and employability-focussed training programme with breadth and depth, drawing on UK-wide expertise
  • National connectivity
  • Industry exposure across the UK

Benefits for employers and industry partners

  • PhD employees ready to translate their high-level skills into practice in the work place, and experience of potential employees through placements
  • The opportunity to design and deliver training suited to business needs
  • A structured framework to collaborate with researchers, both PhDs and supervisors, across the country with expertise in applied research

Benefits for supervisors and universities

  • Follow-on research collaborations
  • Access to world-class training facilities and asset sharing
  • Efficiency savings
  • Innovation through collaboration