In 2019, Loughborough formed a consortium with the University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University, University of the Western Cape, University of Limpopo, and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
This collaboration was established to increase the number of academics with PhDs in South African universities. In 2020 the consortium secured funding* for this programme from the Newton Fund’s UK-SA University Staff Doctoral Programme - Phase 2 (USDP2).
The students taking part in the programme will continue to work as staff members within their own institutions whilst studying for their PhD, however they will study within the UK for a minimum of 12 months to work on their projects, access facilities, attend training and meet the other students in the cohort.
To be part of the project, they were required to go through a selection process within their own institution before being recommend to the USDP panel for funding, and needed to also meet the standard entry requirements at Loughborough.
In December 2020, the partners were pleased to welcome the first five students onto the programme through a virtual online induction.
They will be co-supervised by staff from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and as part of the induction, presented overviews of their proposed research projects which are all aligned to the programme theme. The students will have formally started by April 2021.
Although currently the students are based in South Africa, Loughborough hopes they will be able to join UK-based doctoral researchers to access the growing repertoire of training opportunities provided by the Doctoral College, once it is safe to do so.
Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Doctoral College, Professor Elizabeth Peel commented: “I am really pleased to see this Health, Wellness, Sport and Exercise joint research degree programme launched.
“Many thanks to colleagues for their hard work in getting the programme to this exciting point. It is brilliant that the University is able to support talented South African academic staff to continue their educational journey, and I hope that this programme leads to a deepening of the research connections between the consortium partners.”
*The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, co-funded by the participating universities and delivered by the British Council. More information can be found here.