CASE Partnership Guidelines

Collaborative awards in science and engineering, also known as Industrial or CASE studentships, allow non-academic organisations to partner with PhD research. They offer students training opportunities, access to expertise and equipment, and financial support. CASE Partners are a type of DTP Partner that provide individually linked doctoral students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations in the private, public and civil society sectors.

A CASE partnership can provide training and expertise not available in an academic setting, and can add real-world context to your research. It offers experience working outside of academia, and the opportunity to make industry contacts who may be important to your future career. It also includes a £3000 – £4000 contribution to research costs. By consulting with a CASE partner, you can better shape your research questions to meet the needs of the end-users (business, policy-makers, NGOs), ultimately making your results more impactful and relevant.

CASE partners benefit from direct involvement in academic research. They benefit from having input in the design stages of your PhD, ensuring that the results of your research address meaningful and relevant questions. They also gain from inclusion in any academic publications.


Any and all non-academic partners within a DTP may act as CASE partners within that DTP provided they meet CASE eligibility requirements, namely:

  • Any non-academic organisation within the public, private or third sector that has research and/or end-user interests in NERC’s remit is eligible to act as a CASE partner within a DTP. This includes private industry, the research organisations of the nationalised industries, public bodies such as regional water companies, county planning offices and public sector research establishments (PSREs).
  • Higher Education Institutes are not eligible to act as CASE partners.
  • International organisations are able to act as CASE partners in some instances – DTPs are advised that to be eligible as a CASE partner, international organisations must be able to provide the student with an opportunity to gain skills that could not be provided by a UK-based partner.
  • Non-academic partners within a DTP may act as CASE partners.

When considering potential CASE partners for a PhD project, our list of associate partners is a good place to start. These organisations have already expressed an interested in collaborating with London NERC DTP students.


  • NERC requires the CASE partner to supplement the studentship by a minimum of £1000 p.a. for a minimum of three years. For new studentships starting from 2016/17, this payment should be made to the lead Research Organisation to supplement the RTSG element of the studentship and not paid to the student directly.
  • It is mandatory that students spend a part of their training (between three and eighteen months) with the CASE partner. This placement represents an important contribution to the training of the student and should provide specific training or access to capabilities and expertise not available at the academic partner.

How to Arrange a CASE Partnership

If you are interested in a CASE partnership, you should first begin by discussing this with your supervisor(s), and with the DTP Office. They will advise you on whether a CASE studentship is appropriate for your project, and help you select an appropriate organisation. The DTP has a list of associate partners, who have already expressed an interest in partnering with PhD projects. This list may be helpful, but you should also consider other eligible organisations to find the most appropriate partner.

Supervisors can also enlist CASE partners for exemplar projects they list on the website. If you are interested in developing a project with a CASE partner, please contact Claire Asher for more information. You may also add CASE partners to projects already listed on the website.


For further guidance please refer to: CASE Studentships Guide

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