Great Western Research

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Great Western Research (GWR) aims to promote innovative research collaborations between University groups in the South West and businesses across the UK.

1) The Original GWR Project

For an overview of our progress within the original GWR project parameters to date please see :

The Latest GWR Progress report

The Latest GWR Update and Newsletter

The GWR 2009 Executive Review booklet

  • Since it was established in 2006 Great Western Research (GWR) has set about promoting collaborations between the highest quality University research groups in the South West and the most forward thinking businesses in order to support the growth of the region and demonstrate just what is possible .
  • Many of the projects funded have attracted international interest and recognition due to their leading edge research and breakthroughs in commercial, medical, scientific and environmental applications. 
  • The original project funding of £14M was supplied by the South West-RDA (£ 3.5M), HEFCE (£ 3.5M), South West businesses        (£ 3.5M) and the larger research intensive Universities in the South West (£ 3.5M).
  • The original project provided :
    • 20 research fellowships in South West Universities in its original 5 themes (HEFCE funded) For more information on these Fellowships please click HERE
    • 130 PhD studentships jointly funded with South West businesses across 6 key themes ( SW-RDA and Business funded) For more information on these Studentships please click HERE
    • Established a South West postgraduate training network using Access Grid Technology ( HEFCE funded). For more information on the GWR Access Grid please click HERE .
  • GWR is now building on the successful implementation of the project and to showcasing the practical ways in which businesses have benefited from working closely with HEIs.


To learn more about the original Great Western Research project, the research we supported, and the outcomes and impacts of this research please follow this link :

Great Western Research Phase 1


2) Great Western Research 2012 & Beyond

GWR is continuing to promote collaborations between South West Universities and businesses through the following follow on Schemes :

The ESRC SWDTC Collaborative PhD Studentship Scheme

The South West Doctoral Training Centre and Great Western Research

New Collaborative SWDTC PhD studentships

In January the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) confirmed funding of the new South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) which brings together the combined strengths of the Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath in a consortium to provide doctoral training across the South West of England.

GWR will be working closely with the SWDTC to fund up to 16 collaborative studentships pa from the 2012 student intake. These new collaborative ESRC-SWDTC studentships, facilitated by GWR, will each be part funded by an External Partner, and applications for the first round of studentships are now open.

Application will follow a simple 2 step process, with very short outline applications followed by full research applications, once a suitable External Partner organization has been firmly identified.

Full details of the scheme are available HERE .

ESF-CUC PhD studentships

During 2011- 2014 GWR will be involved in creating and delivering 40 PhD studentships to the Combined Universities in Cornwall partners (CUC), involving Cornish Business Partners, which will be funded by the European Social Fund under its convergence funding for Cornwall.

Full details of this initiative ( which is now fully subscribed) are available HERE .

Exeter University Humanities PhD studentships

With the Humanities College of the University of Exeter, GWR will be offering funding for up to 8 PhD research studentships in 2011, in collaboration with businesses across the UK.

Full details of this initiative are available HERE .


An opportunity to double-up existing PhD studentship funds by working with GWR.

Additionally GWR are currently offering the possibility of " doubling-up" studentship funds and Doctoral Training Account (DTAs) funds to all Universities in the South West. More details of this scheme are available by following the link below, you can download a basic fact sheet HERE , or from your institution's postgraduate dean or PVC.


The current GWR " Doubling-Up" scheme offer