The HWU-led bid consisted of a team of 7 core partners and a further 12 associate partners. The original 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 started in each of their institutions over the initial 3 years of the grant, meaning that 18 new PhD students undertake oil and gas-related research at these institutions each year.
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)) ensured that another 13 PhD 4-year studentships (equivalent to £137k per annum of new money for each ½ studentship they have pledged) started in each of the first three years of the 6-year scheme.
In total, just under £8 Million was pledged to support the scheme, £2.7 million of which came from NERC and a further £5.2 Million from the various (academic and affiliated) partners over the initial six year period.
NERC have 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 are guaranteed to start in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016 academic sessions.
In January 2016, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced a similar studentship 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. The CDT was also successful in winning an additional 10 studentships from NERC's National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) allocation for the 2017 entry cohort. This allowed academic partners to defer their match-funded students to allow for the recruitment of a 5th cohort commencing in October 2018. The 2018 cohort is also supported by 2 NPIF studentships from NERC's much reduced 2018 NPIF allocation.