The pharmaceutical industry continues to collaborate with academia through the means of sponsoring PhD studentships, with the number of PhD studentships supported by industry increasing slightly since 2015, from 552 to 563. This represents a stabilising of the total number of studentships after a drop of 15% between 2013 and 2015. Nine studentships were based outside of the UK, with four in Portugal, two in France and one each in Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa.
While there is consistency around the number of collaborative PhD studentships, concern still exists surrounding the overall decrease in number since 2013. The growing trend for research councils to award funding through Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) may have led to a situation where academia is less inclined to collaborate with industry, as a greater proportion of funding is allocated directly to university departments; while companies are less attracted to academia due to the limited access to PhD students which are funded by DTPs, both in terms of number and a reduced ability to direct the research to match specific company objectives. Additionally, the number of studentships available is reliant on the R&D activities of industry and therefore on the capacity of industry to host studentships, which can lead to variance in the number of available PhD studentships in the long term.