Working with us

There are a number of ways in which you can work with us. The primary mode of collaboration is through the sponsorship and co-supervision of a PhD student within the CDT. Secondary modes of support include complimentary or discounted training for our students, hosting of visits, guest lectures, and mentoring to name but a few.

Project sponsorship

As a potential sponsor, you can work with us to identify medium term research projects that will benefit your organisation’s activities, but which also have academic depth suitable for doctorate study. You will help define the project, provide experimental data and / or access to facilities, be involved in the student’s supervision via periodic progress meetings, and have the opportunity for the student to undertake an internship.

Sponsoring a PhD candidate is an ideal opportunity to propose and drive a research project tailored to your own company’s technical and commercial development needs, with access to world class research facilities and experts in AI and SLT.

The PhD is a highly cost-effective way to drive relevant leading-edge research which you may not have the funding, expertise or equipment to undertake in-house.

Through the CDT, you will have access to world-leading expertise in AI and SLT and your organisation will be part of an extended network of like-minded organisations.

To find out more, download our Sponsor Brochure:

Intellectual Property (IP)

The PhD project is a close partnership between the sponsor and the University, and there will be some joint outputs and publications. We are happy to negotiate IP arrangements, and will follow a reasonable approach to publication (i.e. sponsor prior approval, removal of sensitive information, etc). You can review our standard agreement templates at any time.

Project sponsorship: costs and process

When you sponsor a student and their project, you will pay less than half of the normal cost of the four-year PhD studentship, with the remainder being provided by UKRI and The University of Sheffield.

We operate a two-tier sponsorship approach:

  • Tier 1 sponsors propose specific PhD projects, have significant input into their design, make their application the focus of the research, have the opportunity to host internships for the student, and have bespoke agreements for IPR. Total cost is £46,000 for the entire 4-year studentship (just £11,500 per year).
  • Tier 2 support is associated with projects with a low level of input and less claim on the student’s time. Total cost is £23,000 for the entire 4-year studentship (just £5,750 per year).

To promote cohort cohesion we apply a uniform funding model for all students (same stipend, same training budget) regardless of the sponsorship approach adopted by the industrial partner with whom they work.

If you are a UK taxpayer, you may also be able to claim Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits.

To find out more about proposing a PhD project and sponsoring a student, please contact Dr Stuart Wrigley (CDT Operations and Business Development Manager) by emailing or calling 0114 222 1880.

Other ways to engage

As an alternative to sponsoring a student (or as well as!), there are additional ways in which you can get involved with the CDT.

You can engage with the CDT through conferences and seminars, by making data available for research, and participating in the Industrial Sponsors’ Forum.

Support in the form of guest lectures, hosting of visits, teaching, technical training, bespoke hardware, software or data, mentoring, supervision would also be beneficial – please get in touch. Non-student related financial contributions such as provision of travel awards, or supporting annual workshops are also very welcome.

Becoming a member of the Centre will open up a wide range of other engagement opportunities with our students, researchers, academics, and the wider group of sponsoring companies.

To find out more, please contact Dr Stuart Wrigley (CDT Operations and Business Development Manager) by emailing or calling 0114 222 1880.

EPSRC prosperity outcomes

Our CDT is committed to contributing to the four EPSRC prosperity outcomes

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have identified that the future competitiveness and creativity of the UK economy requires the successful development of world-leading products, processes and technology based on the discovery and innovation in the mathematical and physical sciences, information and computing technologies, and engineering.

The EPSRC aims to anticipate economic and social change, and re-skill the UK workforce with a particular requirement to achieve technical leadership through the development of future scientists, engineers and technologists.

Image reproduced from EPSRC Delivery Plan 2016/17-2019/20.

Productive nation
The focus will be on SLT applications that boost productivity via robotics, IoT, and big data analytics. The CDT fits well within the “AI and Data-Driven Economy” grand challenge of the Government’s Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, which specifically mentions SLT.

Connected nation
SLT applications support a safe and trusted society (e.g., analysing social media for hate speech, political abuse, terrorist activities); supporting policy makers, government organisations, media, and political scientists in studying, e.g., barriers to inclusion, influence of alternative media on the democratic processes and society and online propaganda.

Resilient nation
The CDT will include joint PhD projects with the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, which will be aligned with ongoing joint research using NLP infrastructure.

Healthy nation
The CDT targets SLT applications in the areas of improving healthcare (e.g., assistive technology, clinical applications of speech technology, analysing medical forums for newly reported drug side effects, problems with healthcare provision, misinformation).

Industrial Partners

Amazon Research
ZOO Digital
Microsoft Research

Ieso Digital Health

Tech Nation
Therapy Box
Signal A.I.
NHS Digital

SoapBox Labs
Jam Creative Studios
Sheffield Digital
King’s College London

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