Role of Partners
Chemists and chemical engineers in industry often have a very different and valuable perspective on research problems, shaped by the need to deliver profitable products to the market. Involvement of industrial partners on PhD projects is therefore a key feature of the Integrated PhD in Sustainable Chemical Technologies at Bath. By involving industrial partners, we ensure that all of our doctoral students have experience of industrially-relevant research and of working with stakeholders outside academia.
The Industrial Forum
Our industrial partners together make up the CSCT Industrial Forum. We provide Industrial Forum members with access to all open information on Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) projects and invite them to attend the annual Summer Showcase and similar events. Members of the Strategic Advisory Board are also drawn from Industrial Partners on a rotating basis.
CDT studentships are funded by the EPSRC or the University of Bath and, as such are expected to focus on fundamental areas of research within the scope of Sustainable Chemical Technologies. Industrial Partners are encouraged to identify, with the appropriate academics, fundamental problems in the applied chemical sciences. There is no upper limit to the number of projects that an Industrial Partner may participate in, but we expect them to contribute to research and associated cost of projects in which they do participate (see “Costs” section). Projects requiring a high-level of secrecy, e.g. focussing or relying heavily on confidential information from the Industrial Partner, are probably not appropriate for CDT projects, but may be undertaken as fully funded studentships. In this case, confidentiality agreements and Intellectual Property ownership will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis (see “Intellectual Property” section).
We expect our students to undertake up to three months of internship during their research to enhance their PhD. An internship may involve visits to international laboratories or research facilities, or to a partner company. Alternatively, it may involve wider aspects of sustainability with, for example, a government department or an NGO. Funding is available from the CDT to support the internships and we encourage members of the Industrial Forum to offer internships within their companies, or to suggest possible internships with third parties. While student costs are funded, this will clearly result “in-kind” cost to the internship host.
We encourage staff of industrial partners of the CDT to take up visiting positions in the Centre. Such positions could be full time for periods of 3-12 months to carry out joint research projects or part time to become involved in the training aspects of the CDT. We have resources available to facilitate such arrangements and would welcome the opportunity to discuss any proposals further with industrial partners.
Membership of the Industrial Forum costs £5,000 per annum per partner for a minimum five year period. This is the only fixed cost associated with membership. There are no fixed costs associated with student stipends, bench fees or tuition fees, which are covered by the EPSRC. Industrial partners should contribute to research and associated costs on a project-specific basis. This is in addition to basic operational costs provided by the EPSRC. These additional contributions may be for travel costs (e.g. to attend conferences or visit the Industrial Partner) and consumables (such as particularly expensive chemicals required in the project). Such costs are intended to make the project work effectively and are wholly project dependent. Such costs may be minimal but see typical example.
Based on previous experience, we do not expect IP issues to be a significant barrier to industrial participation in the CDT. However, we recognise that in some cases a project may rely on background IP belonging to or expertise held within the Industrial Partner company. In such cases, provided this is identified prior to the start of the project, appropriate agreements can be entered into. The University has wide experience in collaboration with industry and can be very flexible with respect to Intellectual Property arrangements and ownership. CDT PhD students make presentations both internally and to larger audiences and are encouraged to present their work at conferences. If it is important that certain aspects of a project remain confidential, this should be agreed before the start of the project. Lengthy embargoes on disclosure are not appropriate in CDT projects.
Here is an illustration of the financial contributions made by the fictional Company A. Company A’s business is in precious metal catalysts. They are the Industrial Partner in the PhD project of student A. N. Other entitled “Development of novel nano-metal structures for flow chemistry”, led by Professor A. Bloggs (chem. eng.) in collaboration with Dr J. Public (chemistry). This PhD project begins in October 2010. In October 2011 a new CDT student (Y. Another) begins an MRes short project with the same supervisors and one of the 2010 CDT student intake (S. Again) opts to take up a PhD project led by Dr J. Public on “Modification of Pd nanostructures for robust supported catalysts for production of amides in water” with Company A as the Industrial Partner. Project dates The projects described above will run between the following dates: A. N. Other PhD project: October 10 – September 13 Y. Another MRes project: October 11 – June 12 S. Again PhD project: October 11 – September 14 Annual contributions Company A’s annual contributions in the period 2010–2014 may look something like this:
|Industrial Forum Membership||£5,000||£5,000||£5,000||£5,000||£5,000|
|Contributions to travel|
|A. N. Other travels to internal event at Company A||£150||£0||£0||£0||£0|
|A. N. Other presents poster at international conference||£0||£600||£0||£0||£0|
|A. N. Other presents lecture at UK conference||£0||£0||£0||£300||£0|
|Y. Another presents poster at UK conference||£0||£0||£300||£0||£0|
|S. Again travels to internal event at Company A||£0||£150||£0||£0||£0|
|S. Again presents poster at UK conference||£0||£0||£0||£300||£0|
|S. Again presents poster at international conference||£0||£0||£0||£0||£600|
|Contributions to consumables|
|A. N. Other PhD project||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||£0||£0|
|Y. Another MRes project||£0||£800||£0||£0||£0|
|S. Again PhD project||£0||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||£0|