The HWU-led bid consisted of a team of 7 core partners and a further 12 associate partners. The 7 core partners are HWU, Imperial College, Aberdeen, Durham, Manchester, Oxford and the British Geological Survey (BGS). Each of the 6 aforementioned academic partners in this core group agreed to support 2 PhDs (equivalent to £547k of new University money) to match 1 from the NERC pool to ensure that 3 new 4-year PhD students would start in each of their institutions over the next 3 years, giving a total of 18 new PhD students studying oil and gas at these institutions in each entry year. The BGS allocated 2 of its British University Funding Initiative (BUFI) studentships to each entry cohort, splitting these over four projects which matched the particular research interests of the organisation.
Further investment by associate partners, 11 of which are academic institutions (Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Exeter (Camborne), Glasgow, Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Southampton & Strathclyde), and two NERC affiliates (National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and British Geological Survey (BGS)) ensures that another 13 PhD 4-year studentships (equivalent to £137k per annum of new money for each ½ studentship they have pledged) will start in each of the first three years of the 6-year scheme.
In total, just under £8 Million has been pledged to support the scheme, £2.7 Million of which will come from NERC and a further £5.2 Million from the various (academic and affiliated) partners over the next six years.
NERC has invested 10 of the PhDs with a further 21 PhDs in the mix as a result of academic scholarships and investment from our 17 Core & Associate Academic Partners and our 2 NERC affiliates, BGS and NOC.
The 10 NERC awards have been distributed throughout the partnership with one full award to be based at each of our 6 core academic partner institutions (Aberdeen, Durham, Heriot-Watt, Imperial, Manchester and Oxford).
The remaining 4 NERC awards have been split into 8 x ½ studentships. When combined with the 5 x ½ studentships provided by our NERC affiliates (BGS and NOC) and awarded to our 11 academic associate partners (Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Exeter (Camborne), Glasgow, Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Southampton/NOC & Strathclyde to enable each to have a PhD student each year.
In the case of Southampton/NOC, they have made a combined academic investment of 2 studentships (1 ½ + ½ respectively) to match their two NERC ½s to allow them to make a combined award of 3 PhDs.
Consequently, with the 10 NERC Awards and additional 21 pledged by our academic partners and NERC affiliates, 31 4-year PhDs were guaranteed to start in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016 academic sessions.
In January 2016, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced a similar investment in a 4th CDT cohort for entry in the 2017 academic session as part of the Aberdeen Sector Deal supporting the UK oil & gas sector in a time of oil price challenge. This was boosted by NERC’s allocation of a further 10 studentships from the National Productivity Investment Fund to support the 2017 entry cohort. This funding replaced the academic institutions’ matched-funding for this cohort, and 12 of the original HEI partners deferred their funding to support the recruitment of a fifth CDT cohort in 2018. NERC also awarded a further 2 NPIF studentships from its Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy allocation to support this final cohort.