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ERDF Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme

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Northumbria University is seeking applications for PhD studentships, to work closely with business in the region, in Phase Two of the Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme (IIIP) funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The IIIP Programme aims to encourage a culture of innovation that benefits business, leading to greater export opportunities and increased graduate employment, particularly in science and engineering. The IIIP Programme is a collaboration between Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle and Teesside Universities.

Nine SMEs will receive funding for a Northumbria University PhD student dedicated to a project which will directly benefit the SME. To be eligible for a Northumbria PhD project, the SME must be based in Tyne and Wear or Northumberland and work in one of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership priority sectors below:

  • Passenger vehicle manufacturing;
  • Subsea and offshore technology;
  • Life sciences and healthcare;
  • Creative, digital, software and technology based services;
  • Surface science;
  • Ageing;
  • Energy and energy networks;
  • Systems satellite applications;
  • Materials integration;
  • Water.


What does the PhD project entail and how will it benefit the SME?

During each PhD project, the research student will work closely with the collaborating business, using innovative research to support the development of new products and services. Students will spend up to 49% of their time working with the business and at least 51% of their time at Northumbria University. The SME retains the intellectual property generated as a result of the ERDF IIIP project.

What is the ERDF IIIP funding for and what is the financial contribution from the SME?

The ERDF IIIP Scheme funds the PhD student stipend and academic supervisor costs. The SME funds the student fees (EU/Home rate of £4620 per annum) together with any pre-agreed additional research and travel costs (such as consumables, relevant conferences, travel between the university and SME premises).

What is the application process for interested SMEs and deadline?

Full guidance documentation, together with the two-part application form, can be downloaded from the links below,  or simply email Northumbria's Head of Research Development, Alison Vipond.  

Please ensure that you read all the guidance before completing and submitting your application. SMEs which receive funding will be required to sign a collaboration agreement with Northumbria University.

Applications must be completed by the SME and returned to Alison before 12 noon (mid-day) on Tuesday 30th April 2019.


Guidance       Application form part one          Application form part two


When will SMEs hear of the result of their application?

The SMEs will be notified of outcomes and next steps on 24th May 2019.

Recruitment of PhD students

For those SME projects which are deemed eligible for the scheme, PhD projects will be advertised in June as the projects are agreed. Please see below for ERDF IIIP Studentship Projects open for application, and follow the links for further information. 

PhD students will be invited for interview in mid-July. Successful candidates will start the PhD projects on 1st October 2019. 

ERDF Studentship Projects

Project: The Emergent Theatre: Developing live emergent narratives by bringing together emerging immersive technologies and performance arts

(Deadline for applications: 1st July 2019)



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