Research and innovation

Centres train graduates to meet UK future challenges

Six training centres are to develop the next generation of highly skilled graduates in areas of critical importance, including clean energy and future computing.

Science students

Edinburgh will host four Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and partner in a further two – led by the Universities of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt.

The achievement strengthens the University’s reputation as a powerhouse for research and innovation in science and engineering, following the launch of three additional doctoral training centres in Artificial Intelligence (AI) last year.

Graduate opportunities

The UK’s centres for doctoral training will be funded by more than £1 billion from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), business partners and universities. They will support training and research in applied AI, quantum technologies, future telecommunications and engineering biology, across the UK.

The University will welcome graduate students to all its Centres in the 2024/2025 academic year.

Offshore renewable energy

The EPSRC Industrial Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) will continue its award-winning work, providing comprehensive training to its research engineers in all aspects of offshore renewable energy, before supporting them to conduct an industry based three-year research project.

IDCORE is led by the School of Engineering in partnership with the Universities of Strathclyde, Exeter and Swansea, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

The Centre equips its graduates with professional, technical and transferable engineering skills, developing the next generation of leading engineers, chief technology officers and innovators in growth areas including offshore wind and tidal stream energy, as well as delivering significant impact for industry.

Engineering design

The new Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensing, Processing and AI for Defence and Security (SPADS) is aimed at enabling a safer society, addressing the opportunities and threats inherent in emerging and disruptive technologies in the context of the challenging global security environment.

It will equip graduates with skills in engineering hardware design, sensing and data processing and AI and will be led by the University’s School of Engineering in partnership with Heriot-Watt University, with support from Edinburgh’s Schools of Informatics and Mathematics.

Quantum computing

The University’s School of Informatics will lead the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Informatics (QI CDT) in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford and Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt University and University College London.

The Centre will provide advanced training in the structure, behaviour and interaction of hardware, software and applications in quantum computing – based on small-scale technology that enables high performance, rapid processing.

Machine learning systems

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Machine Learning Systems, led by the University’s School of Informatics, will train students across machine learning – the foundation of modern AI methods and computer systems – which is critical to how AI methods are effectively implemented.

The result will be PhD graduates capable of advancing real-world AI capability across a spectrum of industries and platforms including medical devices, mobile phones, networked systems and data centres.

Further successes

The University will collaborate with other institutions on a further two CDTs.

The first led by Heriot-Watt University – the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Use-Inspired Photonic Sensing and Metrology – recognises the key role that photonic sensing and metrology play in addressing 21st century challenges in transport, energy, manufacturing and medicine.

The second CDT – the EPSRC Centre for Algebra, Geometry and Quantum fields (AGQ) – will be run in collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt. It will be the UK’s first CDT to offer specific training in algebra, geometry, topology and mathematical physics. This CDT aims to develop graduates with a wealth of skills to help drive innovation in science and technology through the application of mathematics.

We need more skills in Scotland and the UK to ensure that we are at the forefront of technological development that improves our lives, creates meaningful jobs, and ensures our planet flourishes.

In training almost six hundred graduate students over the next decade in the most modern, relevant and attractive fields of science, engineering and mathematics, these Centres for Doctoral Training together show how the breadth and the quality of work carried out in the University sits at the heart of our future prosperity.

Professor Iain GordonHead of the College of Science and Engineering, University of Edinburgh

As innovators across the world break new ground faster than ever, it is vital that government, business and academia invests in ambitious UK talent, giving them the tools to pioneer new discoveries that benefit all our lives while creating new jobs and growing the economy.

Michelle DonelanScience and Technology Secretary

The Centres for Doctoral Training announced today will help to prepare the next generation of researchers, specialists and industry experts across a wide range of sectors and industries.

Professor Charlotte DeaneExecutive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation

Related links

College of Science and Engineering 

School of Engineering 

School of Informatics 

School of Mathematics


Image credit: Getty images- Phynart Studio