White Rose universities receive renewed funding from BBSRC

  • Sheffield among Yorkshire universities receiving £10 million for Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology and its Strategic Applications
  • Investment part of government announcement on bioscience and Artificial Intelligence
  • Funding will support 150 PhD students over five years

Students look into microscopes

The White Rose universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York have received renewed funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, a part of UK Research and Innovation).

Between the three universities they have received around £10 million from the BBSRC for the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) in Mechanistic Biology and its Strategic Applications.

The White Rose University Consortium DTP in Mechanistic Biology supports world-class molecular bioscience, as well as strategic research in the areas of food security, bioenergy and industrial biotechnology.

The investment was unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of an announcement focusing on skills in bioscience and Artificial Intelligence.

This significant investment will contribute to supporting around 150 four-year PhD studentships over five years of intakes across Sheffield, Leeds and York, starting in October 2020. During these PhD studentships, each student will also undertake a three-month Professional Internship for PhD Students placement to develop their skills further and to explore possible future career directions.

This White Rose BBSRC DTP programme will offer an exceptional range of research experiences to students, allowing them to contribute to a wide variety of world-class bioscience aligned with BBSRC’s strategic priorities. It will draw on the combined resources of the three universities and our other partners, including the Research Complex at Harwell, the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, to offer a rich and varied training environment that will equip students for successful and productive careers.

Professor Andrew Fleming at the University of Sheffield said: “This is great news. The continued investment means we can ensure that our early career scientists receive outstanding training in the bioscience skills which are core to the research we do as a university, and which equip our students for future careers in the bioeconomy.”

Professor Alan Berry, Director of the White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Leeds, said: “We are looking forward to training the next generation of biological scientists to produce fundamental advances that will underpin future health and prosperity.

“The combined universities have exceptionally strong and well-balanced research across the breadth of BBSRC-relevant research. This provides a superb environment for students to achieve their full potential.”

Aligned with BBSRC strategy, the White Rose DTP will train researchers undertaking projects in bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food, bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth, and advancing frontiers of bioscience discovery.

The UKRI-BBSRC DTP scheme is just one element of UKRI’s commitment to support future talent in research and innovation. UKRI as a whole supports around 15,000 doctoral students in UK universities, research institutes and businesses. As part of the National Productivity Investment Fund, a further 1,300 students were supported in industrially-relevant research topics, and in projects utilising artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.

Additional information

BBSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. They aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. They work with their many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sophie Armour
Media and PR Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 3687
07751 400 287