The Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships KESS2 scheme will partner over 500 businesses with academics and postgraduate research students to develop innovative research projects aimed at driving business growth.

The £36m EU-backed scheme to develop post-graduate research and innovation skills in partnership with small and medium-sized businesses has been announced by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones.

The scheme, which will benefit from £26m of EU funds, will allow over 600 postgraduate students to benefit from opportunities to develop as research professionals as part of Research Masters and PhD programmes funded through the scheme. KESS II will operate in North, West Wales and the South Wales Valleys over the next six years.​

The map for the area that is eligible can be​ found here​.  Please note the map also illustrates other assisted areas in the UK, however only the West Wales and the Valleys (in blue/grey:  noted as 'a' areas) is eligible in this project. 


Please read the factsheet below for more information for businesses, companies and organisations: 


To be eligible for ESF funding sub projects must adhere to the following criteria:

  • ​Be scoped in partnership with a company partner.

  • Project activity must be in the convergence region of Wales.​

  • The company partner will have to contribute an annual cash contribution between £3k - £4k +VAT (depending on company size).

  • Sub projects must fit within one of the WG grand challenge areas : Life Sciences & Health; Low Carbon, Energy & Environment ; ICT & Digital Economy; Advanced Engineering & Materials.​

  • Must lead to a Masters by Research; MRes or PhD qualification.​

  • Must be completed in 3.5 years for PhD; 1year 3 months for Research Masters.​


Once proposed sub projects have been approved, a scholarship will be offered.

​The scholarship offers the eligible participant (student) :​ 

  • A mon​thly stipend in line with RCUK rates : 3 years of funding @ £14,002 per year for PhD; one year funding @ £11,313 for Research Masters.

  • University tuition fees are waived by Cardiff Metropolitan University,​

  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training and attendance at a residential KESS Grad School. All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award.

  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project.​

  • Standard KESS budget for other research project related costs (travel, consumables and equipment).​

  • Student must complete and submit their thesis in 3.5 years for PhD; 1year 3 months for Research Masters.​​

  • Applicants should be resident in the convergence area of Wales ​on appointment, and should have the right to work in the region on qualification

KESS2 - Application forms for sub projects (Cardiff Met Staff Only)

 ​> KESS2 Project Application Form

 >​ KESS2 Budget Form (Section C) - Please note this is an uneditable Pdf version, to have access to the Excel editable version please contact

 > KESS2 Project Application Guidance Notes

This 2nd call will remain open until further notice but with various termly cut-off dates while opportunities still exist within Cardiff Met’s allocation. If a cut-off date is set, 4 weeks’ notice will be provided on this website. The next cut-off date is likely to be noon on Monday, 10th April 2017 – please email a copy of the completed application to for project starts from September 2017. Applicants are asked to note that depending on the number and quality of applications being presented, the next cut-off deadline proposed for 10th April 2017 may well be the final one. If after that point there are still opportunities available as part of Cardiff Met’s allocation, then the following cut-off date is likely to be noon on Wednesday, 31st May 2017. 

KESS2 - PhD Scholarship Vacancies

Please see our open applications for KESS2 Scholarships, please ensure you have checked the eligibility criteria prior to applying which can be found in the above dropdown list.  

Current Vacancies

Engaging Workers to adopt positive Health and Safety Behaviours (Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bridgend Ford Engine Plant)

Employers want engaged employees because, as well as being happier, healthier and more fulfilled, they deliver improved business performance. Research has repeatedly pointed to a relationship between how people are managed, their attitudes and behaviour, and business performance. Positive relationships are evidenced with profit, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, staff retention, efficiency and improved health and safety performance. (CIPD,2016). Positive engagement is seen as a far more successful means of securing improved, more sustainable positive outcomes in health and safety performance leading to healthier more productive working environments (Healy and Sugden, 2012). This project looks to embrace a broader approach in engaging workers in health and safety agendas in line with HSE strategy ‘fit for work, fit for life.’ This requires a shift in emphasis from current reactive approaches that focuses on managing and controlling workplace hazards.

The project aims understand the mechanisms that bring about organisational change that result in improved Health and Safety performance arising from increased worker engagement. The project will explore the barriers and beliefs that challenge successful implementation of worker engagement initiatives and will develop evidence based tools that measure worker engagement in order to provide a baseline assessment for manufacturing environments and also measure the impact of introducing targeted interventions. 

For more information on this scholarship please click here.

Deadline    9th April 2017

To Apply please complete an application form found below and send the completed form to:
Dr Peter Sykes

Application forms and Guidance notes

Tenovus Cancer Care Partnership Opportunity

Tenovus Cancer Care are keen to manage approaches from academics from Welsh HEIs and to prioritise support for their preferred potential KESS2 sub-projects in the form of initial partnering commitments. Once Tenovus have given a partnering commitment, it is the responsibility of the academic partner to apply to the KESS II programme through their host university. 

The Tenovus process for prioritising partner commitments this Spring17 term has deadlines that fit with Cardiff Met's arrangements; the next cut-off for KESS2 sub-project proposals here at Cardiff Met, for which ADRs or ADEs will have indicated in principle support at the outset, is 10th April. Further information is available about the Tenvous arrangements here. 

Any academic from Cardiff Met that is keen to approach Tenovus is advised to do so as soon as possible, as the KESS2 project as a whole may soon reach the cap on sub-projects that involve partner companies from non-industry sectors which is imposed by the funders; the project is meant primarily to focus on partnerships with industry sector collaborators.