Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) / Centre for Doctoral Training in Functional Industrial Coatings (COATED) Privacy Notice

An explanation of how we use your personal information

Swansea University is the data controller and is committed to protecting the rights of individuals in line with the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Swansea University has a Data Protection Officer who can be contacted through dataprotection@swansea.ac.uk.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) is part-funded by an award from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 West Wales and the Valleys Operational Programme which is managed by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) and a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Centre for Doctoral Training in Functional Industrial Coatings (COATED) is funded by EPSRC.

If you are funded via the M2A (including EPSRC COATED2), COATED or you are considered as a match-funded participant we will collect and process personal information supplied by you including data defined as sensitive via, but not limited to the M2A/COATED Application Form, Participant Form and Researcher Exit Interview Pack.

In this document, we will explain why we collect individual data as part of the M2A Project and COATED, how we process it and the steps we take to ensure data security at all stages.

What information do we collect about you?

We will collect information about you in the course of our interaction with you as a future student, for example, when you enquire, send an email and/or apply to study with us. Information is also collected at induction so that we can assess your eligibility for funding and to set up your bursary, during your studies and on completion of your programme.

Application stage

The M2A/COATED Application Form is divided into three sections and you will be asked to provide personal information (e.g. contact details, date of birth, details about your education and employment), and sensitive data (including disability, ethnicity and whether you have a criminal conviction).

  • Section A is used as a means of sifting applications and will be forwarded to the companies that have provided EngD and MSc by Research projects. Information will be password controlled and recipients will be bound by an obligation to process personal data in accordance with Data Protection legislation.
  • Section B is used by the M2A Project team and Admissions to assess your eligibility for ‘home/EU’ tuition fees and to highlight whether your application should be referred to Student Services so that they can assist in pastoral and welfare needs.
  • Section C - captures equal opportunities information that is used for monitoring purposes at Swansea University, WEFO and EPSRC.

Interview stage

To be eligible for funding we must demonstrate to our funders that you meet the following criteria. You must:

  • be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the university) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • be resident in West Wales and the Valleys (as defined by the European Structural Fund Programme Regions in Wales for 2014-2020) upon enrolment and throughout the duration of their studies.
  • have an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree ( minimum level of 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.
  • not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.

As such we will ask you to bring a copy of any degree certificates and passport(s) to interview so that you can demonstrate that you meet the criteria. If the degree is pending the certificate is collected at enrolment.

Post Interview

We may receive information about you from outside the University, such as information supplied by referees. Only referees on your Application Form will be contacted.


The M2A Project Team will need to assess and evidence your eligibility to be a participant/supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) in Wales. You will be asked to provide:

  • Passport – to demonstrate your legal right to live in the UK during the time of the ESF support and right to work in Wales at the end of your studies. If you do not have a passport it will be necessary to provide another form of identification e.g. birth/adoption certificate or national insurance card/letter. We may also ask for a copy of any visas or any other documents required to ensure eligibility to receive financial support from the UK government and in compliance with right to study and identification requirements.
  • Bank Statements – you will need to provide two months’ worth of recent bank statements to demonstrate that you cannot self-fund your studies (i.e. do not have funds in excess of £71,000).
  • Degree Certificate(s)/ Transcripts
  • Document to verify home address within the West Wales and the Valleys region – e.g. a tenancy agreement, mortgage statement, bank or building society statement, utility bill or council tax correspondence, evidence of registration on electoral roll, full driving licence (EU), correspondence from employer or pension scheme.

Additionally, you will need to confirm that you have not applied for/ or are in receipt of a Welsh Government Postgraduate Loan.

At enrolment we will ask you to complete an M2A Participant Form formerly known as Additional Participant Information Form) to collect data covering a range of personal information (sex, age, labour status, level of education etc), including some variables that may be considered as ‘sensitive’ (i.e. those related to disability, migrant or minority status, and /or other disadvantages) and to populate details on the M2A Participants Database that is then uploaded to WEFO Online.

Additionally, you will be asked to complete a:

  • Personal Details Form – so that we can capture financial information for the purpose of setting up your bursary and tuition fees; shoe size so that safety boots can be ordered and dietary requirements for buffets/events.
  • Health Declaration Form – so that you can notify us if you have a health problem or disability which may affect your ability to undertake mandatory field trips, placements and/or travel abroad or which may require adjustments to be made for you to participate. If you identify that you do have a health problem or disability your form will be forwarded to Occupational Health.
  • Tripartite Contract – setting out the conditions of your research programme and the obligations you, Swansea University and the sponsoring company must adhere to.

During your programme

During your studies a range of personal data/information will be processed.  This includes, though is not limited to, the following:

  • Programme/module – your personal details may be included on information associated with the learning and teaching aspect of your programme (e.g. course/module lists, module feedback forms, mark sheets, exam scripts and documentation for the University Examination Boards). If you suspend your studies or request a transfer of programme or extension personal data will be shared internally in order to process the request.
  • Joint electronic submission system (Je-S) - if you are directly funded by a Research Council (e.g. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) or classified as an incorporated student it is a requirement of the grant that the M2A Project Team upload personal details (e.g. name, date of birth, degree details, bursary amount) to this web portal.
  • Researchfish – information uploaded to Je-S is shared with researchfish. If you are funded by EPSRC you will be required to upload details of your research outputs on an annual basis so that they can measure the impact of your research.
  • Financial information - collected for the purposes of administering bursaries. Claim forms may be completed in order to claim back travelling expenses.
  • Photographs and video recordings - for the purpose of recording lectures and creating promotional material for the M2A e.g. banners or short video clips of project work or to verify to WEFO/EPSRC that activities took place e.g. you may be photographed when presenting at the M2A/COATED Conference.
  • Information about an individual’s engagement with the University - such as attendance information and use of electronic services such as Blackboard and the Research Management System (e:Vision).
  • Record Card – for capturing the modules you have completed and for you to list any publications, outreach opportunities and events associated with your research project. This information will be referred to when reporting on the impact of your funding (e.g. publications).
  • Annual Reports/Literature Reviews/ Thesis – you will be required to produce reports and submit to the M2A Project Team and your supervisors.
  • Quarterly Reports - you will be required to produce a quarterly slide for the M2A Project Team and your supervisors to document what project work has been accomplished, whether any issues have arisen etc.
  • Theme Reviews and the M2A/ COATED Conference – on a quarterly basis you will meet with your academic and industrial supervisors and produce a poster, PowerPoint presentation and will disseminate this information to your colleagues, fellow supervisors and industrial representatives. Posters may be uploaded to the M2A website once consent has been obtained from all parties or displayed in the College of Engineering buildings.
  • Travel – you may be asked for a copy of your passport, driving licence, to obtain a check code from the DVLA so that we can process your travel orders.
  • Order Forms – to purchase project materials or to request travel bookings you will need to complete an order form and to submit a request to travel overseas and an M2A Approval to Travel Form; the latter will be forwarded to WEFO for their sign-off and the other documents will be processed within the M2A Office and wider College of Engineering and Finance Department.
  • Blogs/ News items for the M2A website – following a conference or training visit you may be asked to compile a short written account.
  • Committee meetings – statistical information (e.g. recruitment, lists of publications) may be included in presentations for internal meetings and Steering Committee that includes representatives from the sponsoring companies and funders (WEFO and EPSRC).
  • Self-Certificate Form - you will be asked to complete this form if you are absent from the University for up to 7 days. When the absence exceeds 7 days a Doctor’s Certificate is additionally required.
  • Ad-hoc requests – the M2A Project Team at your request may produce a student status letter for use towards Council Tax Exemption or Student Loan purposes. Additionally, third parties may request the M2A Project Team complete an employment reference prior to setting up a Tenancy Agreement or seeking employment – we will check with you first that this request is genuine.

End of programme

At the end of your funded period of research you will have an exit interview with members of the M2A Project Team and will be asked to complete sections of the Researcher Exit Interview Pack. The pack is then returned to you when you receive your award and 6 months post award so that we can capture data for our funders on whether your employment prospects have improved as a result of undertaking the MSc by Research/ PhD or EngD. Additionally, it helps us to measure the impact of your research. Information contained within the completed Researcher Exit Interview Pack will be used to populate the M2A Participant Database and in turn uploaded to WEFO Online. You will be required to provide a letter from your employer/email from your place of employment to evidence that you are in the role listed within the Pack.

Why we collect personal data and how we use it?

We collect data:

  • For the purposes of fulfilling the compulsory external reporting and monitoring requirements of our funders, namely:
    • The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) via their Online Portal
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Our funders need to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria they set to receive funding (typically payment of your tuition fees and a bursary) and wish to measure the impact of your research and whether further study has improved your employment prospects.

  • For the purposes of evaluation which helps us to assess the effectiveness of the activities we provide and to measure the impact which can be disseminated within future grant bids.
  • To upload to our M2A website – e.g. posters, blogs, news stories, video clips.
  • To ensure your health and safety and to assist with pastoral and welfare needs.

What is the legal basis for processing your personal data?

By participating in the M2A Project, Swansea University will be required to collect, store, use and otherwise process information about you for purposes connected with the provision of industry led postgraduate research training in the areas of advanced materials and manufacturing and for other reasons deemed necessary for the performance of your contractual agreement with the University (Article 6(1)(b)).

The University is also required to collect some special category data for the purposes of carrying out our obligations in the field of employment and being able to demonstrate compliancy with existing Equality legislation as deemed necessary for reasons of substantial public interest (Articles 9(2)(b) and (g).

Who receives your information?

Where necessary, personal information will be shared internally within Colleges and with other departments across the University. Personal information is protected by the University and information will not be disclosed to third parties without consent, or, is permitted by law. This section outlines the major organisations and the most common circumstances in which we disclose information about students. Where this involves international transfer, information will only be transferred if it meets the conditions set down under current Data Protection legislation.

  • The University Admissions Office may check the information you have provided on your Application Form by verifying qualifications with any previous educational establishment(s) you have attended and with the UK Home Office. Please refer to the Applicant Privacy Statement and Admissions Policies for additional detail.
  • The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) via WEFO Online. Please refer to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and Structural Funds guidance provided by WEFO.
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Please refer to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Privacy Notice, which brings together the terms of the research councils including EPSRC.
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) - Swansea University is required to send some of the information which we collect about students to HESA for statistical analysis purposes and to conduct the Graduate Outcomes survey.
  • The Higher Education Funding Council Wales (HEFCW) in line with our statutory responsibilities.
  • Sponsoring company representative where consent has been provided.
  • Professional bodies (e.g. The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining: IOM3) in order to confirm your qualifications and accredit your course.
  • Sponsoring company site or specific Work Placement sites or another Higher Education Institution (e.g. Cardiff University) involved in joint course provision.
  • Potential employers or providers of education whom you have approached
  • Local Authorities for purposes of council tax exemption.
  • Third party project evaluators appointed by the M2A for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of the project in achieving the project goals and the objectives set out by European Structural Funds. The evaluation report will be passed on to WEFO.

Any other disclosures that the University makes will be in accordance with Data Protection Legislation and your interests will be considered.

How long will your information be held?

Swansea University will retain your personal information in line with the University Records Management Policy and Recruitment Admissions Retention Schedule.

It is a condition of EU-Funded Projects, including the M2A, that the information is retained by the University for approximately 10 years from the end of the award. WEFO is currently indicating that the data retention date could be as late as 31 December 2026.

What are your rights?

One of the main aims of the GDPR is to extend the rights of individuals; especially the right to be informed. You have a right to access your personal information, to object to the processing of your personal information, to rectify, to erase, to restrict and to port your personal information. If you have provided consent for Swansea University to process any of your data, then you also have a right to withdraw that consent. Full details on your rights can be found here.

Any requests or objections should be made in writing to the University Data Protection Officer:

Mrs Bev Buckley
University Compliance Officer (FOI/DP)
Vice-Chancellor’s Office
Swansea University
Singleton Park
Email: dataprotection@swansea.ac.uk

If you wish to request details of the personal data held on the WEFO central database you can contact WEFO Online on 0845 010 3355 or via email at:

The M2A Project Team can be contacted via: M2A@swansea.ac.uk.

Security of your information

Data Protection legislation requires us to keep your information secure. This means that your confidentiality will be respected, and all appropriate measures will be taken to prevent unauthorised access and disclosure. Only members of staff who need access to relevant parts or all of your information will be authorised to do so. Information about you in electronic form will be subject to password and other security restrictions, while paper files will be stored securely in locked cabinets.

Some processing may be undertaken on the University’s behalf by an organisation contracted for that purpose. Organisations processing personal data on the University’s behalf will be bound by an obligation to process personal data in accordance with Data Protection legislation.

How to make a complaint?

If you are unhappy with the way in which your personal information has been processed you may in the first instance contact the University Data Protection Officer using the contact details above.

If you remain dissatisfied then you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: -

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,

Your responsibilities

Please advise us of any changes to your name, address, contact details as soon as practically possible so that we can amend our records accordingly.

Reviewed and updated: January 2019