Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Date

2019

Client

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

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Assessing the impact of a PhD funding scheme on the future talent pipeline

Measuring the impact of a PhD funding scheme, assessing how it has helped benefit the talent pipeline for economic prosperity and brought benefits to the co-funding industry partners.

Review and Evaluation | Research Consulting

We were commissioned by a UK-based research council, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to explore the value and impact of support for a co-funded doctoral training scheme over a 10 years period.

The report produced for the client is confidential but we can outline the nature of the work and our response. The review focused on the impact from support to 2,500 doctoral studentships across over 80 universities, working with over 600 co-funding companies.

The research council wanted to understand the impact that the studentships were having on building skills and the talent pipeline for economic prosperity. They wanted to understand the benefits of a flexible ‘business driven’ approach to doctoral training, to businesses, and the value that it adds to their training portfolio. Examples of impact assessed included economic factors, the value of the project to different stakeholders (including students), and on society, health and the environment.

We carried out 120 structured interviews with doctoral students, business representatives and academics. We also carried out desk research and examined graduate earnings data. Generally, we found the scheme was meeting its objectives, but we were also able to identify a number of opportunities for further improvement.

Our findings will help inform the future direction of support for doctoral training, demonstrating the value of this investment, benefits to funding partners and in training the next generation of professionals.