Fujitsu is sponsoring seven PhD studentships in computational science to be undertaken in Welsh universities, as part of a new supercomputing-based research collaboration with HPC Wales.

As well as funding, PhD students will also have access to researchers and high-performance computing (HPC) specialists from Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and the Technical Computing Solutions Unit of Fujitsu Limited.

The studentships form part of a wider strategic collaboration between HPC Wales and Fujitsu, designed to promote the uptake of high-performance computing (HPC) in Welsh industries. The studentship topic areas align with three of the Welsh Government’s priority areas – Energy and Environment, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, and Life Sciences.

Masahiko Yamada, president of Fujitsu Limited’s Technical Computing Solutions Unit said, “The studentships cover areas that are of both commercial benefit and, importantly, will contribute to future society – through the development of low-carbon energy generation, a better understanding of the effects of climate change, the sequestration of carbon dioxide, and the use of genomics to battle infection and improve agriculture.”

Three of the PhD studentships are targeted specifically at the marine energy industry, two are in the field of genomics, one will examine the consequences of climate change on global sea level, and one will study the topography and heat flow of the Earth’s mantle, which will be of value to the oil and gas industry.

A further 13 studentships are expected to be announced in July 2012 and July 2013.

The news comes a month after Fujitsu was awarded a £15 million contract to provide a distributed grid for HPC Wales, with two primary hubs in Cardiff and Pembroke Dock. The project and aims to position Wales as a leading international centre for specialist computational research.

HPC Wales will eventually consist of 1,400 nodes deployed in a range of academic sites, including Swansea, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glamorgan, Swansea Met, Newport and Glyndwr, providing a combined performance of 190 teraflops. Other tech companies taking part in the project include Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec.