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Amid predictions that higher education will be changed forever by the current pandemic, Professor James Miller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, suggests the innovative ways the sector is responding to the crisis will make it even more valued in the future.
The current crisis has underlined the critical role played by the UK’s experts and researchers and the institutions supporting them, as well as the need for collaboration between them, says Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.
As a growing number of universities move teaching and assessment online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Derby is holding a virtual conference which aims to support staff in making the transition.
The Office for Students is leaving it up to universities to decide on particular approaches to the Coronavirus pandemic rather than issuing specific guidance, and has promised to minimises its regulatory demands on the sector in response to the crisis.
Funding of over £200 million to support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences and boost the UK’s research into quantum technologies, has been announced today by Universities Minister Jo Johnson.
A £167 million investment in Doctoral Training Partnerships and £37 million investment in the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme will support cutting-edge research across the UK and help top students into a PhD.
In an announcement at the University of Oxford’s Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, the minister said funding for quantum technologies will further boost the UK’s leading position in creating new technologies which use advanced physics to deliver products for anything from more accurate brain-scanning and earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis to smaller and more powerful computers.
The Doctoral Training Partnerships are being awarded to 40 universities from Southampton to Aberdeen, Cardiff and Belfast and will give around 2,000 students the opportunity of Doctoral study, nurturing scientific and engineering talent in the UK. It will also enable universities to develop new ideas with more research support, so they can then leverage future funding from business and deliver new methods and understanding which will help improve our lives.
"We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers which scientists are working on in Oxford. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow," Johnson said.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: Quantum technologies promise to revolutionise the way we live our lives. At Oxford we stand at the forefront of this revolution through our world-class research and training programmes. It is a pleasure to welcome the minister to Oxford to announce support for this key research area, as well as sizeable funding for doctoral places in physics and engineering that will help us continue to train the leading scientists of the future.
The £37 million funding includes investing £25 million in new equipment at 7 university-based quantum institutions, and £12 million to help train researchers starting out their careers in quantum engineering. Together they will help ensure the UK is in a leading position to benefit from the huge potential of quantum engineering for major global industries like computing and consumer electronics.
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