MASTS Working With Industry

MASTS Can Provide Access to Resources, Expertise and Funds to Support Industry R&D.

Does your organisation: face challenges; generate ideas; or data that you never seem to have the time or resources to deal with? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you should consider the option of working with MASTS staff, interns, or PhD students.

Depending on the nature of the challenge you face, MASTS may be able to provide your organisation with a broad spectrum of expertise, tapping into the skills of some of our brightest post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers, backed by the significant research infrastructure and capacity of their host institutions and the wider MASTS network.

To download a copy of the MASTS Working With Industry information leaflet click here.


Internships offer industry an excellent opportunity to have access to additional staff resources to address a specific piece of work or project. Such opportunities offer invaluable experience outwith the academic environment for the intern helping them gain additional skills whilst building working relationships, new networks and extending their research experience into business.

Internships can last between two weeks and six months. Appointees may work either full time or part time and are generally expected to spend between 50-100% of their time in the host organisation.

MASTS may provide some funding to help offset a proportion of the cost of the intern undertaking their placement.


To progress within their chosen career path, many of our brightest graduates need a PhD. This qualification is gained through a period of training based on undertaking and successfully completing a research project. Addressing your challenge or exploring your ideas could be that project.

By sponsoring or part sponsoring a PhD student your organisation can be involved in helping to design the project as well as gaining access to the dedicated time, skills, enthusiasm and intellect of an individual for a minimum of 3.5 years. This comes with the support, infrastructure and backing of at least one MASTS member institution who would host the student. Although not a requirement, there is the potential for the student to spend periods of time working directly with the sponsoring organisation.


Contact the MASTS Directorate through Dr Mark James or Dr Emma Defew

MASTS community involves approximately 700 marine researchers working in all marine science and associated disciplines across 13 institutions. Many of our researchers are internationally recognised. Through MASTS we have the capacity to build multidisciplinary teams as well as helping you to identify specialists in particular fields. We also have close links with Government, regulators, industry and NGOs.

We have considerable experience and success in attracting domestic and EU funding to support research and would welcome the opportunity to develop projects and proposals in collaboration with industry.

Industry-based employees can be registered as research students with one of our host Universities and work towards higher research degrees (MPhil and PhD) through their work-based projects in collaboration with the University and with academic co-supervision. In this model, the registered company’s students would remain within the company premises as progress is made towards the completion of the research degree.

Talk to us in the first instance – the discussion is free, and we may at least be able to provide you with additional information or contacts within MASTS who may be able to help.

Sometimes the in-kind support of industry can be sufficient to attract the interest of a researcher who simply wants to solve the “problem”. The benefit to the researcher may be access to data or facilities and ultimately the potential to generate a high impact research publication.

More substantive research projects will have a cost implication, but there are a number of ways to minimise the cost to your business.


The cost of a 3.5 year PhD full time studentship which could be focused on helping your company resolve a particular challenge requiring research is about £75,000. However, many MASTS institutions will provide up to 50% of this cost, which means that the cost to you could be £37,500 spread over 3.5 years ~ £10,715 per year pro rata. This commitment can be further reduced if other sponsoring organisations are willing to contribute.

Within a typical model, in Years 1 and 2 the participants are registered as MPhil students with fees set at the “part-time” level. In most instances, the company-based students escalate to PhD level. Accordingly, for Years 3 and 4 (and any subsequent years of study) the fees are set at “full-time” level. Based on this, the typical programme costs for industry-based employees are:

  • Year 1: MPhil Fees approx. £2,000
  • Year 2: MPhil Fees approx. £2,000
  • Year 3: PhD Fees approx. £4,000
  • Year 4: PhD Fees approx. £4,000

In each year an additional £500 honorarium is paid to the academic supervisor. Typical total costs for an industry-based employee at PhD level: £14,000 over 4 Years If your organisation is liable for UK corporation tax additional support may be available through R&D tax relief. For more information on R&D tax relief visit:

As an example, where the expenditure is eligible for R&D tax relief under the most beneficial regime for a full time PhD student, after taking account of corporation tax relief, the cost could drop to just under £9000 per year.