Industry Partners

Q & A on Industrial Funding

Does the project have to be funded?

All projects must have relevance to manufacturing, as this is the focus of the CDT, and all projects must have an industry partner.

The CDT has committed to funding 65 students over five years. To achieve this at least 37 of the projects must have industrial funding.  The Management Board is therefore prioritising projects with industrial funding.  Other proposals will be considered, but industrially funded project will be allocated ahead of those that are not. Note that due to the current distribution of projects, ALL Cardiff based projects MUST have industrial funding to be considered.

Note also that most students are seeking a project with strong industry links; in the post-selection survey, 85% said that they would have chosen an industrially funded project even if they had not been required to do so. 

If you have not yet identified an academic to work with, the CDT, the Industrial Interface Director or your University representative may be able to help you to do so.  

When is the last date to confirm industry funding?

In order that students can make an informed decision, we ask that you provide confirmation of industrial funding not later than 30 November so that this can be highlighted in the Project Catalogue. 

How much cash does the company need to provide?

The minimum amount requested from an industry partner is one-third of the total projected studentship costs of approx. £129, 600 which means a minimum contribution of £43,200 for students starting in September 2024.  This is for a standard studentship; if the project costs exceed £15,000 in total or there are additional costs of a placement, the company should be asked to cover these unless you have another source of funds.

This sum is payable over the three years of the PhD project, beginning in October 2023, or by a single payment in 2023.  Payment terms can be negotiated with the company: initial lump sum, 3 annual instalments, 6 six-monthly instalments or 12 quarterly instalments.

These sums are similar to industrial CASE studentships where the company must provide a top-up of a minimum of one third of the EPSRC funding.

Research Studentship funding qualifies for R&D Tax credits when undertaken via a Contract with a University (Sub-contractor costs). As explained in the box below (source: www.Gov.uk website) this allows an SME deduct an extra 86% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total of 186% deduction.  A large company would be able to claim 100% plus 13% against their corporation tax.  An SME may even be able to claim if they do not currently pay corporation tax.

This is a major boost as your company’s corporation tax is reduced by 230% for an SME and 120% for large corporations.  Even a SME who has not paid any corporation tax but is making NI payments for their employees can recover some of their contribution over a number of years.

Claiming Research and Development tax reliefs – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Types of R&D relief 
There are different types of R&D relief, depending on the size of your company and if the project has been subcontracted to you or not. 
 
Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) R&D Relief 
You can claim SME R&D relief if you’re a SME with: 
-less than 500 staff 
-a turnover of under 100 million euros or a balance sheet total under 86 million euros 
 
You may need to include linked companies and partnerships when you work out if you’re a SME. 
SME R&D relief allows companies to: 
-deduct an extra 86% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 186% deduction 
-claim a tax credit if the company is loss making, worth up to 14.5% of the surrenderable loss 
 
Research and Development Expenditure Credit 
This replaces the relief previously available under the large company scheme. 
Large companies can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) for working on R&D projects. It can also be claimed by SMEs and large companies who have been subcontracted to do R&D work by a large company.
The RDEC is a tax credit of 20% of your qualifying R&D expenditure (since April 2023).

Can two companies jointly fund a student?

Normally, the project should be funded by one company.  However, if two small companies wish to co-fund a student, the Management Board will consider such proposals.  The companies must be in agreement about the aims of the project and the assignment of intellectual property arising; these should be discussed well in advance to ensure that all material issues are agreed before a student is allocated to the project. 

Does the Company have to be based in the UK?

No, this is not a requirement of EPSRC.  If the student is to spend some time with the company outside of the UK, however, then the additional travel/subsistence costs will need to be considered when planning the budget and the Company may need to cover these costs.  There may also be additional complexity around intellectual property and the studentship agreement, which again should be considered well in advance of a student being allocated to the project.

Will we need an Export Control License?

In a research context, export controls are most likely to apply to collaborative scientific or technical research with a potential military or security-related application. The Lead Supervisor will explore export controls at an early stage if they think your project falls into these categories. Where applicable, researchers need to apply for an Export Control Licence to transfer controlled goods, technology, software or knowledge outside of the UK.

How is the student selected for the project? 

The Lead Supervisor and the Industrial Supervisor will interview the students who have expressed an interest in the project and will indicate whether the students are appointable.  Management Board receives these recommendations and allocates students to the projects, taking into consideration the balance of students at each University, which is fixed by the CDT agreements.

What if the project is not selected by any student or the Management Board does not allocate a student to the project?

The project can be carried forward for the following year’s intake.  You will be asked to confirm that, where relevant, you wish to do this. 

What happens after an industrially funded project is confirmed?

The CDT Office will inform the University’s contracts office of the funding and will work with you to develop a studentship agreement, as soon as possible and before the start of the PhD project. The University will be responsible for collecting the industry contributions. 

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