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 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

​Due to the limited time remaining for the completion of the KESS2 Project:

  • There will be no call for Expressions of Interest, instead all applications will proceed straight to full application form (this form is unchanged from previous calls)
  • A scholar is to be named on the application form (please seek advice from KESS@cardiffmet.ac.uk if this is not possible)
  • All sub-projects will be expected to start in April 2018 (the correct level of stipend for a PhD is shown using the drop-down box on the Budget form: Oct 17 – Sept 20.)

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 KESS@cardiffmet.ac.uk

> KESS2 Project Application Guidance Notes

A 3rd call will open from 14th December 2017 until midday on 14th February 2018. Interested parties are to complete the full application form and submit to KESS@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

The final date for queries to the KESS2 team regarding sub-projects will be Friday 2nd February

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.

CMK231: Food safety and cleaning optimisation behaviours in the food industry: development and evaluation of an intervention package.

Deadline: 24th August 2018

Project Outline:

The ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre (FIC) is an internationally recognised centre for food safety research and is a partner in Food Innovation Wales with substantial links to the Welsh food industry with long-term projects funded by the Welsh Government and European Union. The Authentic Curry Company Ltd., is a food manufacturing company that supplies a wide range of ready meals (ready-to-heat) to major retailers, local authorities and food service outlets across Wales. This is a 3-year research post, based within the ‘FIC Food Safety Research Group’, provides an exciting opportunity to achieve a PhD and obtain invaluable industry experience working with a successful food manufacturer.

For more information please click here. 

​Application forms and Guidance notes