Universities of Manchester and Chile combine engineering programmes to address energy resilience and sustainability

The University of Manchester and the University of Chile are expanding their science and engineering partnership through the launch of a dual award PhD programme.

The idea for this dual PhD degree initiative originated after a joint research project between The University of Manchester and University of Chile was awarded the prestigious Newton Prize in 2018.

The grant was awarded for ‘smart’ ways of restoring electricity supplies following natural disasters. The work has influenced energy policy in Chile and has led to global applications, including countries located around the Pacific Ring of Fire which are exposed to the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis.

The University of Manchester’s President and Vice Chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “At Manchester a cornerstone of our international strategy is partnerships. No single country has a monopoly on talent and it is only through global partnerships that we can address the major challenges to our planet and our society. These partnerships are also essential for producing future generations of skilled global citizens, capable of carrying forward our values and ensuring world peace.”

This new initiative will see the implantation of a new dual PhD degree involving the collaborative scoping of projects by project supervisors from each side and certificates to be issued by both institutions upon successful completion of the programme.

Candidates on the programme can expect to benefit from the world-class academic supervision and research infrastructure of two globally renowned universities. The initial area of focus is in electrical engineering but it is the intention of both universities to expand the range of research areas under the scheme across science and engineering, to humanities, social sciences and medicine.

Professor Ennio Vivaldi, President, University of Chile, said: “This dual PHD program is part of a long-term collaboration of both universities, including the Newton Fund grant awarded in 2018 to enhance resilience by restoring the electricity supply following socio-natural disasters. We believe that these kinds of collaborative activities are the best contribution we can do at the moment of uncertainty that mankind faces. Transdisciplinary efforts, the relationship of the universities, and the complementarity of our efforts moving forward in social engagement are essential to provide solutions in this context. Probably, these joint efforts for creating new knowledge are one of the best ways that both institutions can contribute to society.”

This new partnership programme will present a unique opportunity for talented researchers to address complex global challenges. Apart from the very attractive proposition this presents to aspiring young researchers, this initiative will consolidate the partnership between our two institutions as academic colleagues drive forward research initiatives that have material impacts in the progress of developing countries.

HMA Louise De Sousa, British Ambassador to Chile, said: “At the beginning of this year, our Prime Minister unveiled the UK’s ambitious plan to become a global science superpower, recognising not only the UK’s world-class research and innovation, but also emphasising the need to encourage collaborations and promote the environment to attract the world’s top scientists and research to our shores. This dual PhD reflects his vision.”

The PhD programme will be four years in total with two years spent at The University of Chile and two years spent at The University of Manchester. The dual PhD programme was launched at a special online ceremony hosted by the University of Chile on 1 July. Attendees included HMA Louise De Sousa, British Ambassador to Chile, HE David Gallagher, Chilean Ambassador to the UK, and Aisen Etcheverry, Director, Chilean National Agency for Research and Development (ANID).

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