This EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels aims to attract students from a diverse range of disciplines from chemistry and engineering through to social scientists. Fostering the differing intellectual qualities, backgrounds, and cultures and nurturing the student partnerships is achieved through the cohort development strategy of the training programme.
This 4 year programme combines 120 credits of taught modules with a full research PhD. With the intention to produce future energy leaders, an insight into the needs of industry was paramount in shaping this training programme. Co-creation meetings with industrial partners identified five core skill requirements needed of future graduates for company employability. These were
(1) team building
(2) in-depth expertise on a particular topic
(3) appreciation of the challenges of real world applications
(4) industry prepared future employees
(5) broad fundamental knowledge.
The elements were introduced to the CDT programme by academic teaching and increased industry involvement and through the utilisation of other training activities such as seminars, mini-projects, placement opportunities and the soft skill training offered for instance through our institutional Graduate Schools. To support a student centred approach to developing the programme, students from the existing Hydrogen and Fuel Cell CDT were consulted on the current training programme. Ten key areas were identified through this process that students pointed out as important to them. These were:
(1) project management skills
(2) training throughout the programme
(3) more cross-university interaction
(4) group activities
(5) broad fuel cell knowledge acquisition
(6) industry interaction
(7) research skills
(8) specific PhD knowledge acquisition
(9) personal development
(10) a ‘student voice’.
Students will be involved in credit and non-credit based activities, across a flexible training programme which students can tailor to address their skills needs. The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels PhD programme has technical training elements, innovative training, cohort building, industrial context training, and public engagement activities. It is tailored to allow students to develop their technical skills across 4 years. Alongside the technical training, insight is given into working in industry and research, both nationally and internationally, not forgetting an understanding of societal challenges and the politics of climate change and industrial innovation at a national, as well as larger EU and worldwide level.
Across the first 18 months of studies students will take 70 credits of compulsory taught modules (delivered at UoB), adding another 50 credits of optional modules taken from any of the partner universities.
The mini-projects include a public engagement activity in the 1st year, an interdisciplinary project in year 2, and an industrial placement in the 3rd year, where the order of these projects has been chosen to allow students to make best use of their skills acquired at the relevant point in time.