A new £2 million PhD fellowship scheme allowing doctoral candidates to study in the UK and Australia has been unveiled.
Under the Priestley PhD Fellowship programme co-funded by the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne, a total of 20 engineering PhD students will funded to undertake study at both institutions.
The programme, named after the Antarctic explorer Sir Raymond Priestley who was vice-chancellor of both universities, is the centrepiece of a new agreement to deepen research and teaching links between Birmingham and Melbourne.
A further £100,000 has been committed to encourage collaboration between academics in each university and to increase exchanges between the UK and Australia.
The new partnership agreement between the two universities was signed at a ceremony at Melbourne’s Parkville campus on 2 March. A similar co-operation scheme between the University of Warwick and Monash University was signed in 2012, which began with £2 million in seed funding for 10 joint senior academic posts, plus new dual master’s and joint doctoral degrees in areas of “strategic importance”.
“Signing our strategic partnership heralds an exciting new era of close collaboration that will lead to high-quality research with global impact as well as exciting education initiatives for students,” Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of Birmingham, said of the new agreement.
Melbourne’s vice-chancellor Glyn Davis said that his institution had already enjoyed a “multi-faceted relationship” with Birmingham over the past 20 years.
But Professor Davis believed the new PhD programme and other initiatives would strengthen the two universities’ links, which have already seen its academics co-author about 500 research papers since 2010 and run joint PhD programmes in medicine and life sciences.
In addition, the agreement will allow more cultural engagement between the institutions, expanding the International Museums and Collections exchange programme for Birmingham and Melbourne students.