Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) provide funding for doctoral studentships where businesses and related organisations take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice. These academic partners must hold Doctoral Training Partnership funding from EPSRC.
The aim of these awards is to provide doctoral students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations, for example industry or policy making bodies. Our priorities are:
- to provide a potentially better student experience (via the student being part of a larger cohort of individuals working in leading research teams for example).
- to facilitate the strategic use of all EPSRC’s students via EPSRC working with a smaller group of companies and research organisations, so we can better target training at areas of particular strategic importance.
Once the arrangements for the project have been agreed and the grants have been awarded, the collaborating partners may recruit students. Industrial CASE awards may support doctoral training in any areas of engineering and the physical sciences with relevance to the EPSRC remit. There is no route for prospective students to apply to EPSRC for a studentship. The business and their academic partner manage the advertisement of opportunities and recruitment to studentships funded through the Industrial CASE.
Allocation and use of funding
We allocate awards directly to businesses and related organisations using an algorithm based on financial contributions to EPSRC-funded research.
Students receive funding for a full EPSRC studentship for four years (full time equivalent). The industrial partners provide additional top up to the project of a minimum of a third of the EPSRC funding which can be used, for example, towards project costs and enhanced stipends. The student must spend at least three months at the industrial partner, who also pays any travel and subsistence costs.
Once businesses have determined their academic partner, grants are issued to those UK universities in the form of Industrial CASE accounts. Further information on this can be found in the Industrial CASE terms and conditions.
To be an Industrial CASE sponsor, businesses and related organisations must have an established UK-based research capability and/or commercial production capability.
Government departments, academic institutions and charitable bodies are ineligible, but some government-funded bodies are eligible where they make significant investments in EPSRC’s portfolio.
Please note, it is not possible to apply for ICASE because the awards are algorithmically allocated, but the majority of EPSRC studentship funding allows collaboration. Organisations are encouraged to approach universities to explore collaboration options through Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) and Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) investments.
Student eligibility requirements for EPSRC Industrial CASE funding are the same as for our other studentship awards. They are:
- a relevant connection with the UK, usually established by residence
- an upper second-class honours degree, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.
EU students may be eligible for a fees-only award which doesn’t include a maintenance element. You should contact your university postgraduate admissions office for advice.
An industrial partner in receipt of Industrial CASE vouchers may involve one additional UK-based industrial partner (such as an SME) on a project.
The industrial partner that was allocated the Industrial CASE vouchers becomes the lead industrial partner, and in line with the standard Industrial CASE requirements, remains responsible for ensuring the minimum cash contribution is delivered and student expenses are covered during visits. Student placements may be with either industrial partner, or both.
The Industrial CASE contact at the lead industrial partner will be the point of contact between the additional industrial partner and EPSRC.
The collaboration agreement between the lead industrial partner, the partnering university and the additional industrial partner should formalise exactly how any contributions from the additional industrial partner are delivered (for example, through the lead industrial partner, or directly to the university). The lead industrial partner and partnering university will be responsible for ensuring the quality and funding of the studentship.
Industrial CASE is not our only scheme where industry can get involved with doctoral projects. Companies can sponsor students and projects supported through DTP.
CASE conversion target
We continue to encourage industrial collaboration through CASE awards in science and engineering. These awards are a type of doctoral studentship designed to incorporate an element of collaboration and industrially related training to broaden experience.
As part of delivering economic impact and increasing company involvement in our provision of doctoral training, we are committed to increasing impact by increasing the proportion of collaborative studentships within our DTP.
To support this, we’ve set institutions in receipt of DTP the target of converting 10% of the funds into CASE awards (DTP CASE-conversion).
Eligibility criteria for industrial partners collaborating on a DTP CASE-conversion are much the same as ICASE, but greater flexibility is permitted. Organisations should have clear links to the UK, ideally having a UK-based research capability or commercial production capability, but links may take other forms such as having a large supply-chain infrastructure in the UK. Organisations must have the capacity to host the student for placements, and this may be overseas. The DTP-holding university will make the decision on whether or not to collaborate.
In order to be counted as a full DTP CASE-conversion:
- the student must be in receipt of a full award, so 100% DTP funded over the period of the studentship
- the industrial partner provides extra funding to the project (a minimum of a third of the EPSRC funding) on top of the full DTP award
- the student is jointly supervised and spends at least three months at the industrial partner who covers all expenses incurred by the student as a result of periods spent with the industrial partner.
Students supported this way are still funded through the DTP and as such should be reported as a Standard Research Student (DTP), in addition institutions are responsible for maintaining off line records to provide to EPSRC upon request.
Where it is not possible to support a full CASE conversion, EPSRC continues to encourage collaboration between universities and companies and within the flexibility of the DTP mechanism and an industrial partner can provide support to make up the studentship minimum award (subject to meeting the 50% rule).
Last updated: 15 November 2021