CASE studentships (formerly known as 'Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering') provide doctoral students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and non-academic partner organisations. Non-academic partners include those from industry, business, public and the third/civil sectors.
Next funding opportunity
NERC supports CASE studentships through a variety of mechanisms. Please see the individual funding initiatives below for details of opportunities to apply for NERC studentship funding that includes CASE studentships.
NERC studentships can be delivered in collaboration with non-academic partners from the private, public and third/civil sectors; where studentships are delivered in collaboration they are referred to as 'CASE studentships'. CASE studentships provide the PhD students with enhanced training opportunities by ensuring they spend between three and eighteen months in total with their CASE partner in a workplace outside the academic environment.
CASE studentships provide outstanding students with access to training, facilities and expertise not available in an academic setting alone. The CASE partners benefit from self-motivated, highly capable PhD students undertaking cutting-edge research relevant to their organisation's priorities and objectives. Both parties are also able to build and strengthen business and research collaborations. CASE studentship projects must provide sound training in research methods, and a stimulating intellectual challenge for the student. The work's impetus and initial requirement should originate from the CASE partner. Both the research organisation and the CASE partner nominate supervisors responsible for overseeing the student's training.
Impact is one of the CASE scheme's main criteria. Studentships should demonstrate the potential for societal or economic impact through collaboration with the CASE partner and the provision of high quality training in research skills.
The main mechanism by which NERC provides funding for CASE studentships is through permitting institutions awarded funding for NERC studentships to deliver a number of these studentships as CASE studentships. In addition, NERC may also make CASE studentship awards through separate competitive schemes.
NERC studentship funding initiatives that support CASE studentships
Organisations awarded funding under the following NERC studentship funding initiatives are able to deliver a number of their NERC studentships as CASE studentships:
- Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) studentships
- Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) studentships
- Large Grants associated studentships
- Research programme grants associated studentships
- Research programme competition studentships
- Research centre and survey studentships
Additional criteria regarding the number of studentships that can, or are expected to, be delivered as CASE studentships will be included in the announcement of opportunity for each of these funding schemes.
Funding opportunities under the aforementioned funding routes are held throughout the year. Please visit the pages relevant to these funding routes for information concerning competition closing dates, how to apply for studentship funding and whether studentships can be awarded as CASE studentships. Information concerning how to apply will be contained within the specific call documentation.
Non-academic organisations who are interested in acting as a CASE partner are advised to contact institutions that have been awarded NERC studentship funding, including relevant DTPs and CDTs.
CASE partner eligibility
Specific eligibility criteria can be found in the individual call guidance and announcement of opportunity documents for each funding opportunity. General eligibility rules with regard to CASE partners are harmonised across all schemes for studentships starting in the 2019-20 academic year. The CASE partner may be in the public, private or third sector. Organisations eligible to receive NERC research funding will not be eligible to act as a CASE partner. This includes NERC research centres and independent research organisations (IROs) as defined on the RCUK website - external link.
CASE partner responsibilities
CASE partners are required to supplement the studentship, and thus enhance the research project, by:
- paying at least £1,000 per year to the lead research organisation to supplement the Research & Training Support Grant (RTSG) for the duration of the studentship
- in addition to the cash contribution above, meeting the extra expenses (such as travel and subsistence) incurred by the student visiting and working in the CASE establishment(s)
- contributing in cash or in kind towards necessary materials whilst the student is based at the CASE partner establishment(s).
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