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

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 

Psychological factors in obesity associated with antipsychotic medication

Weight gain is a significant side effect of psychotropic medication, which stimulates hormones and neurotransmitters related to appetite control. However, the contribution that psychological factors make towards weight gain cannot be overlooked. Current understanding of overeating emphasises that an important behavioural factor in obesity is an individual’s responsiveness to seeing food and related cues. Attentional processes normally underpin an individual’s motivation to consume highly palatable foods (typical foods which are high in sugar and fat). Individuals who are heavily influenced by the ‘pull’ of food cues are at increased risk of overeating. The degree to which an individual allocates attention to food cues in their environment is a useful predictor of their propensity to overeat.  Psychotropic drugs often have therapeutic effects that reduce florid psychotic symptoms by restoring some regulation of attentional. It is plausible that antipsychotic weight gain may be attributed in part to the cognitive effects of these medications on focused attention. 

For more information on this scholarship please click here.

Deadline   30th July 2017, to apply please complete an application form and send the completed form to Dr Paul Hewitt (contact details below).

For informal enquiries please contact:
Dr Paul Hewlett 

New Models for Enhancing Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneurial Skills via the Digital Economy

In comparison to the rest of Wales – and the UK - the economy of South West Wales and the Valleys has a weaker entrepreneurial culture, and by extension a less robust private sector, particularly with regard to those sectors having the highest potential for growth and retaining competitiveness. There are however some relative strengths in the region in certain Welsh Government Priority Sectors, for example in ICT & Digital Economy, and in Advanced Engineering & Materials. Ultimately, the project aims to assist in translating these relative strengths into improved economic outcomes more broadly.

Working with Simply Do Ideas, the project seeks to assist in raising the entrepreneurial potential of South West Wales and the Valleys whilst also tackling the barriers to innovation and creativity in larger firms. Simply Do Ideas operate in the areas of Enterprise Education, Start-up Support, and Innovation and Development ('Intrapreneurship'), with existing clients from across education, industry, charities and government. The project will involve the successful applicant working closely with academic supervisors at Cardiff Met and the senior team at Simply Do Ideas to develop a mutually beneficial improved understanding of entrepreneurial support models in the digital economy.  This will ultimately allow Simply Do Ideas to improve their offer to prospective users - thus strengthening their own business while assisting both nascent entrepreneurs in South Wales and larger organisations seeking to become more innovative. In the long term, the goal will be to 'export' this model to other parts of the UK and internationally. 

For more information on this scholarship please click here.

Deadline   31st July 2017, to apply please complete an application form found below and send the completed form to Professor Nick Clifton (contact details below).

For informal enquiries please contact:
Prof Nick Clifton

​Application forms and Guidance notes

Clearing Course Vacancies for 2017. Call 0300 330 0755 to Secure Your Place.