The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council is planning a 50 per cent increase in the number of PhD studentships it funds to meet demand from students, em-ployers, universities and industry.
Ken Pounds, council chief executive, says the council is "pretty confident that it can carry through the increases without lowering quality. As it is, demand from top-quality students is outstripping the number of places by three to one."
He says that the increase will take the number of PPARC studentships up to 200. The council also wants to strengthen links with industry. PPARC will soon be formulating research bids with firms for a share of the Pounds 40 million Technology Foresight Challenge Fund.
Council member Geoff Robinson, former chief scientific adviser at the Department of Trade and Industry and now director of IBM's Hursley Laboratories, said that there will be a new emphasis on students' careers.
PPARC is also concerned that the balance between its international and UK spending "does not represent good scientific value for money." Over the next five to ten years, intergovernmental subscriptions should be stabilised at a maximum of 50 per cent of total budget. It is currently running over this threshold.