Becoming a CDT NLP Partner

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing is a 4-year PhD programme with over 50 students funded by a combination of industry and government funds.

Partnering with the CDT provides collaborative research opportunities, access to cutting-edge NLP, and a talent pool for internships or hiring graduates. The CDT covers NLP and related areas; supervisors and their research areas are listed under the People tab.

Every industry partnership is tailor-made with options for the staff or students involved, IP licensing, and confidentiality depending on the project and level of funding. Some successful modes of collaboration are:

* PhD studentships on a topic mutually agreed between a company and a supervisor, typically for a longer-term project.
* Contract research for shorter-term projects involving new research.
* Consultancy to bring existing research into your company or train staff.
* Donations targeted at a project without IP licensing (but often open source), or to support students (eg student visa fees).
* Internships by PhD students.
* Guest lectures and seminars that get people interested in working on your problems.
* Industry days to share practices, find collaborators, and recruit students.
* Research visits where company staff embed in a research group to learn skills or advise on using the company’s technology, possibly on a part-time basis.

Packages for PhD studentships
In the UK, the cost of a PhD studentship depends on the residency of the student. We attract applications from all over the world but government funding is mostly limited to UK-resident students. Hence overseas studentships provide the largest pool of candidates that could not otherwise be admitted.

Sponsor Level Student Residency Topic Total Cost over Four Years Included IP Licence
Gold Overseas Agree with Supervisor £176,291 Unlimited non-exclusive
Silver UK/EU Agree with Supervisor £95,213 Internal R&D non-exclusive
Bronze: 50% studentship UK Partially relevant; other 50% funding must be approved by CDT management £47,606 Internal R&D non-exclusive
All packages can be negotiated, including embedded internships, changes to licensing, and level of company involvement in the projects. PhD studentships run for 4 years and start in September. The costs are based on a 2020 start.

Below £47,606, we recommend a donation. Donations involve a one-page letter from the company and can be targeted towards a supervisor, a particular project, or CDT-wide events and projects.

To explore possible connections with the Centre, please direct enquiries to the CDT's External Engagement Manager Ken Scott ( who will help align your needs with the best collaboration option(s).

Existing Partners

To realise this Centre for Doctoral Training, the University of Edinburgh formed strategic partnerships with a number of industry partners. This includes not only blue-chip companies and large media organisations, but also an array of SMEs and startups. The input of our partners has informed our research training approach, ensuring that the CDT will produce graduates with skills that our partners, and the NLP industry in general, expect.

Most students will undertake at least one internship during their PhD. This is an essential aspect of training, providing team working, project management, and software engineering experience. It also exposes students to a company-focused research culture, and provides them with valuable contacts for future job searches. Most of the CDT's industry partners have agreed to host students as interns.