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iCASE projects


Whilst the MRC appreciates that it may sometimes be difficult to ensure the financial stability of a company three or four years hence, at the time of commitment to the studentship, companies should have strong regulatory, supervisory and other policies in place to ensure the continuity of the studentship. Changes during the studentship should be notified to the MRC immediately.  

As a measure of its interest and commitment, the non-academic or company partner must make a specific, identifiable contribution to the research training of the student.

In addition to the contribution to the research training of the student, the company’s contribution must include:

  1. an annual cash contribution to the academic partner towards the cost of the project of at least £1,400 per year, for the remainder of the studentship

  2. a mandatory cash payment of at least £2,500 per year as a supplement to the stipend, for the remainder of the studentship

  3. a cumulative period of no less than three months spent working in the facilities of the industrial collaborator (this three-month period can be at any point during the studentship and may consist of a number of shorter visits if appropriate). This is part of, and not additional to, the funded 4 year studentship.  

  4. the company’s costs while the student is working at the premises of the company

  5. all additional expenses, such as the cost of travel and accommodation incurred by the student as a direct result of attendance at the premises of the cooperating body.

Small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) are exempt from points 1 & 2 above, but are expected to meet points 3-5.  The MRC DTP flexible supplement can be used to meet the stipend and RTSG enhancements where the collaborating partner is an SME.

SMEs are companies that meet the definition included in Recommendation 1996/280/EC of an SME:

  • The enterprise must have a staff headcount of less than 250

  • The enterprise must have a turnover not exceeding €50 million or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

MRC may agree to vary any of the above stipulations provided that the case is made in the application.

UK-based organisations can be considered as the non-academic partner if they can provide students with distinctive research training and experience not available in an academic setting. Organisations eligible for UKRI funding (such as NHS Trusts) cannot act as a non-academic partner. Where the non-academic partner is a company, it must have an established UK based research or commercial production capability, or both. In exceptional cases, organisations based overseas may be eligible, but only where they can provide the student with an opportunity to gain skills not currently available in the UK.


The host research organisation will need to agree intellectual property arrangements with industrial collaborators (taking care to retain IP rights themselves). The agreed distribution of project generated IP should meet either the fully flexible requirement or gated contributions requirement. The intellectual property (IP) management and distribution arrangements should therefore reflect the requirements of the appropriate category.
PhD students must be able to publish their project outcomes without restriction in accordance with good research practice. Consequently, industrial CASE studentships are expected to be pre-competitive. The host institution will need agreement and confirmation that the data generated from this research can be placed in the public domain within a reasonable timeframe prior to commencing the studentship.

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