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When will the project start?

MRes projects start in October each year. We have two intakes per year for PhD and MSc by Research projects so they will start in either October or January.

How long will the project run for?

MRes and MSc by Research projects run for one year and PhD projects run for 3 years.

What types of organisations can participate?

Priority is given to private sector partner organisations:

  • Micro Enterprises; Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs); Large Companies
  • Third Sector Organisations (Charities, Not‐for‐profit Organisations and Social Enterprises) and Public Sector will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Partner Organisations must have an operational base in West Wales and the Valleys; please see West Wales & the Valleys Programme Region Map .

 What are the benefits for my company?

  • Undertaking a business-focussed research project
  • Establishing on-going links with the University
  • Positive press, marketing and PR opportunities
  • Attracting and supporting the development of new researchers in your company
  • The low cost of participating

Feedback from previous partners showed that companies greatly valued the link with the University, and this has often led to other beneficial collaborations.

What are the costs?

Please find below the draft company cash contributions that all partners should be using. There is no scope for in-kind match (e.g. time sheeted partner staff time) under KESS II.

Organisation TypeNo of EmployeesCost per Annum
Micro <10 £3,500
Small <50 £3,500
Medium <250 £4,000
Large >250 £4,500
Third Sector - Dependent on size
Private Enterprise - Dependent on size
Public Sector - Dependent on size

 All Cash Contributions are subject to VAT. Definitive guidance TBC.

When will the company contribution need to be made?

The contribution will need to be made within 3 to 6 months of the project start. Payment terms are within 30 days of the date of the invoice.

Does the research student spend time in the company?

Yes, this is an important element in the KESS model.  The research student will spend a minimum of 1 month per year at the company partner however this can be more subject to agreement from the company and academic supervisors.

Who owns the project results?

In order to demonstrate compliance with State Aid rules, the University will own Intellectual Property (IP) generated by the project. However, there are arrangements to grant a licence to the company partner to exploit the IP (exclusive or non-exclusive at ‘market value’ i.e. on a fair and reasonable negotiated basis). Partners background IP will be secured at the start of each scholarship. The University’s main drivers for the KESS programme are to increase engagement with companies, to initiate and build longer-term relationships, and to provide training opportunities for postgraduate students.

How are individual projects selected and approved?

Under KESS II, all Swansea University applications will go through a three-stage process:

1.            Internal assessment and approval to proceed to external review;

2.            Approval by KESS II central approval panel;

3.            Approval by WEFO, the funding body.

 Individual projects are likely to be selected and approved depending on:

Key Approval/Project Eligibility CriteriaApplication form reference
Fit within the Welsh Government (WG) Grand Challenge Areas Section A 3.0
Fit with WG Economic Prioritisation Framework (EPF)  
The potential economic benefit of the project for the West Wales & the Valleys Programme Region Section A 5.5
Quality of the research proposal to meet the identified company need (assessed from both the University and Company viewpoint) Section A 5.2
Fit with the University's Research Strategy (Priority will be given to projects which fit with the University's resarch strategy and can demonstrate possible contribution to REF2020)* Section A 5.4
Additional benefits to Convergence area (i.e. social, environmental, links to other structural fund projects) Section A
Relevance of the skills developed to the private sector - potential for the scholar to work in the private sector within the West Wales & the Valleys Region Section B
Eligibility of company and student (to be recruited) with KESS II funding rules, in line with ESF regulations Section A & B
Priority will be given to projects who engage with private sector partners (third and public sector partners will be assessed on a case-by-case basis) Section B

* Please note: Internal assessment will focus on these Key Approval / Project Eligibility Criteria.



Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.