Skills & careers

Industrial CASE studentships

MRC industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (iCASE) studentship scheme 2017

Driving innovation and collaborating with industry remains at the heart of MRC strategy and delivery plans.

Our industrial CASE (iCASE) PhD studentship scheme has for many years played a key role in this by helping develop partnerships and enabling students to benefit from a broad and unique training experience (See UKRI joint vision for collaborative training).  

Given this previous success and the enormous potential that industry-academic collaboration has to offer for UK society and the economy, we wish to enhance the flexibility of the MRC iCASE studentship scheme.

Current iCASE Awards (2017 call)

From 2017 we introduced a different approach to iCASE studentship support. Instead of the previous system, where investigators submitted individual iCASE studentship project and training proposals directly to an MRC annual competition and then recruited to this one position, we allocated studentships directly to research organisations (ROs) for one intake year in the first instance (2018), with the potential for a further two intake years (2019 and 2020).

This will enable iCASE studentship opportunities to be created and implemented in a more flexible and scalable way, in particular, giving both industrial and academic organisations more control over the timescales of their collaborations. Participating ROs must be strongly committed and well-placed to deliver the scheme’s objectives, which are to:

  • provide students with experience of collaborative research with a non‐academic partner
  • strengthen and develop collaboration and partnerships between ROs and non‐academic partner organisations
  • offer outstanding students an experience of at least two distinct research cultures
  • provide access to a wider-than-usual range of technology, facilities and expertise
  • enable the student to spend a period of time with the non-academic partner (usually no less than three months over the lifetime of the PhD).

Any investigators who planned to submit individual iCASE studentship applications to MRC (under the old system) should instead liaise with their local Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) or postgraduate study coordinators to submit an institutional-level case for iCASE studentship positions.

See the table (PDF, 47KB) for full details of allocations for the 2018 intake and previous call guidance here.

iCASE 2018 review

As per the 2017 competition guidance, all iCASE bids had the potential to extend for a further two intake years (2019 and 2020). In August 2018, the MRC considered the overall management of the award (covering project selection, supervisor specifications and student recruitment) and the 2018 intake year studentships. Awards to all 14 ROs were extended for a further two intake years, at the same allocation level. See the MRC Industrial CASE Allocations 2018 intakes table (PDF, 47KB).

Conversion of DTP studentships into iCASE studentships

Universities in receipt of an MRC DTP have the flexibility to convert DTP studentships into iCASE studentships, if appropriate for the project, partners and student. Non-academic partner contributions should adhere to MRC’s current guidelines (PDF, 174KB):

  • an annual cash contribution to the academic partner towards the cost of the project of at least £1,400 per year, for the remainder of the studentship
  • a mandatory cash payment of at least £2,500 per year as a supplement to the stipend, for the remainder of the studentship
  • a cumulative period of no less than three months spent working in the facilities of the industrial collaborator. This 3-month period can be at any point during the studentship and may consist of a number of shorter visits if appropriate
  • the company’s costs while the student is working at the premises of the company
  • all additional expenses, such as the cost of travel and accommodation incurred by the student as a direct result of attendance at the premises of the cooperating body.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are exempt from making cash contributions to stipends and project costs. The MRC DTP flexible supplement can be used to meet these additional costs where the collaborating partner is an SME.

MRC contact

For queries relating to the requirements of the competition please email: students@mrc.ukri.org