A new £36m EU-backed scheme to develop post-graduate research and innovation skills in partnership with small and medium-sized businesses has been announced by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones.
The Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS II) scheme will partner over 500 businesses with academics and postgraduate research students to develop innovative research projects aimed at driving business growth.
The scheme, which will benefit from £26m of EU funds, will allow over 600 postgraduate students to benefit from opportunities to develop as research professionals as part of Research Masters and PhD programmes funded through the scheme.
Led by Bangor University in partnership with other Welsh universities, KESS II will operate in North, West Wales and the South Wales Valleys over the next six years.
The KESS II scheme will target research collaboration with SMEs in key sectors of the Welsh economy including life sciences, advanced engineering and materials, low carbon energy, ICT and the digital economy.
It builds on the success of the first KESS scheme which supported research and development in collaboration with 380 Welsh businesses between 2009 and 2015, and led to over 400 PhDs and Research Masters degrees.
The First Minister said:
“It’s excellent news for hundreds of businesses that will benefit from collaboration with our universities in research and development, and for talented young people looking to develop high-level skills and expertise in Wales.
This is a significant EU investment that will help align research with the needs of small businesses and drive higher level skills in Wales in the coming years. It is a clear example of how Wales benefits from the UK’s membership of the EU.”