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 un-editable Pdf version, to have access to the Excel editable version please contact

 > KESS2 Project Application Guidance Notes

This 2nd call has remained open since November with various termly cut-off dates while opportunities still exist within Cardiff Met’s allocation. The next cut-off date will be noon on Wednesday, 31st May 2017; this suggested cut-off date has been proposed and notified on this website since January 2017. Please email a pdf copy of the completed application for project starts from September 2017 but no later than April 2018. Applicants are asked to note that if 6 good quality applications are not received by then, then this will probably be the last opportunity to apply for KESS2 funding; it has been recently proposed by the KESS2 project board that only HEIs that have met their allocation will be able to bid for unallocated funding.

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 June 2017, Interviews for this post will take place in the week beginning the 19th June 2017, with a commencement date around the 10th July 2017.

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

Optimising athletic development: an intervention to improve the athletic motor competency of secondary school children

Sport Wales has a mission to get every child in Wales hooked on sport and to create a nation of champions. Between 2013 to 2015 the number of children “hooked on sport” in Wales rose from 40 to 48%, with children twice as likely to become hooked on sport if they felt confident.  However, the 2015 School Sport Survey revealed that very few Headteachers in Wales strongly believed that children coming into secondary school have good basic physical skills. This supports research from both the UK and from around the world that shows the movement competency of many children is poor.

Athletic motor competencies are the ability to perform a range of movements with precision and confidence, requiring good levels of strength, speed, power, agility, balance, co-ordination and mobility. When youth develop these athletic qualities it is known that they are likely to feel more confident, be more physically active and become more able to excel in sport. Importantly, young people  who develop their athleticism will be better protected against sports related injuries.  Therefore, the aims of the PhD will be to develop, deliver and manage an intervention to promote the athletic development of secondary school children in Wales

This project is run in partnership between Cardiff Metropolitan University, Swansea University, Cardiff University and Sport Wales. It is expected that the candidate will spend a considerable amount of time in, and liaising with, secondary schools in the convergence area of Wales during the PhD.

For more information on this scholarship please click here. 

Deadline    9th June 2017, to apply please complete an application form found below and send the completed form to the Dr Jon Oliver (contact details below).

For informal enquiries please contact:
Dr Jon Oliver
T: 029 2041 7276

What Changes for Pations in medium secure care? A long term follow up study of outcomes, care, supervision and patients' experiences

Medium secure provision is expensive with limited capacity. It is therefore of paramount importance that the focus in this setting is upon a) those factors that require this level of care (i.e. that cannot be met in less secure, local or community settings); b) ensuring individuals do not remain in the service longer than is necessary and c) that individuals successfully step down and remain out of secure care and / or prison. This research will provide essential information in order to begin to understand what works and therefore how services could be configured in order to maximise the likelihood of a successful discharge. The findings from this study are likely to help inform the highly difficult process of discharge decision making and planning by providing clinicians with a better understanding of the factors associated with discharge success. In addition to the clear benefits for service delivery, this study will also benefit the partner organisation through assisting it to address the agenda for health provision reform set out by the Welsh Government through the principles of Prudent Healthcare (WAG, 2015; Finally, this study will have an impact beyond the particular partner organisation. Across the UK there are over 40 medium secure services for whom the findings of this research would be of interest in order to inform their service models and provision

Specialist psychiatric services across the UK have evolved over the past 40 years in the absence of any evidence base to support the adoption of different risk management procedures (Department of Health, 2007 a, b) or treatment models (Davies & Oldfield, 2009). Very little is known about how patient outcomes relate to pre-treatment risk, or, how different models of treatment and aftercare are related to criminal or clinical outcomes. Most surprisingly of all, nothing is known about the effects of receiving treatment in specialist services on patients, or about how patients think secure mental health care has affected them. 

Deadline    30th June 2017

To apply please complete an application form found below and send the completed form to: 
Dr Andrew Watt 

​Application forms and Guidance notes