The Research and Training Centre in Physical Sciences for Health will train a generation of early-career scientists as interdisciplinary researchers with a broad skill-base who will be at the vanguard of developing physical science to contribute to future breakthroughs in biomedical sciences.
They will be excellent communicators able to communicate across the disciplines and beyond to the general public. Their experience of multi-supervisor training will make them ideal facilitators of new collaborations and fosterers of interdisciplinary projects across a wide range of science. These are all important skills not only in industry but also in the academic environment and they will impact on academic laboratories in other institutions across the world during the CDT programme when students undertake placements/exchanges.
These skills will remain with our graduates into their future careers and will be highly valued in leading academic institutions, since many key research challenges fall at the interfaces between disciplines: there is currently a strong demand for excellent and truly interdisciplinary scientists in Universities at both postdoctoral and academic staff levels. Our programmes will help to meet this demand.
Our graduates will be seeking to drive forward physical and computer science developments that forge healthcare advances and benefit society through enhanced health treatment and quality of life. They will be generating IP that benefits their employers and the UK economy. They will be excellent communicators able to inform and engage the public on the ethical issues of their work. And to support all these, they will have extensive networks of inter-personal contacts that will enhance and sustain their careers and impact.
Discussion and consultation with our industrial partners, including major UK employers GE Healthcare, PerkinElmer Life Sciences, GSK, Renishaw, and Smith and Nephew, reveals a strong need for physical scientists trained at the interface with biology and medicine in order to maintain and increase UK competitiveness in this area of rapid growth. These students must be able to communicate and research across these disciplines, such that they are flexible, innovative workers who can move between projects and indeed disciplines as company priorities evolve and change.
This same need is apparent in life science and healthcare industries with diverse business focuses. Large companies and existing local SMEs (the West Midlands is home to over 550 medical technology companies) are potential beneficiaries and their need for a strong supply of PhD graduates with such a cross-disciplinary training is reflected by their direct involvement in this CDT bid (Smith and Nephew, PerkinElmer, Colgate, GE Healthcare, Renishaw, GSK, Cairn Research, Carl Zeiss, Inanovate, Samsung, Elforlight, Neuregenix, Nikon, Smiths Detection, Leica,
Visualsonics, Serascience, JEOL, TWI). As yet more knowledge-based industries emerge in response to the national and regional biomedical technology initiatives, it is inevitable that the current demand for such multidisciplinary scientists in both industry and academia will rise still further: Biomedical-technology is estimated to be worth £50 billion to the UK economy in a total market of $1-1.5 trillion worldwide (HM Govt. fourth annual report on Bioscience and Health Technology: ʻStrength and Opportunity 2012ʼ).
As the power of techniques and methodologies progresses, and as yet more knowledge-based industries emerge in response to national and regional initiatives, it is inevitable that the current demand for such multidisciplinary scientists in both industry and academia will rise still further.