A total of 12 businesses, which signed up to the scheme in 2013, at a cost of £3,750 each, have pledged to fund a student through the course from the start of the next academic year in September.

Engineered timber construction specialist KLH is also backing the initiative this year for the first time.

The MSc industry scholarship was devised through close liaison between the industry and Edinburgh Napier’s engineering department and Forest Products Research Institute (FPRI).

The aim is to increase the UK’s overall timber engineering skills and knowledge base, which, it is felt, lags behind other European countries.

"The lack of training in timber-related technology in civil and structural engineering results in a reluctance among engineers, contractors, architects and designers to work with wood," said Geoff Rhodes, chair of the FPRI advisory board. "They’re comfortable with steel, glass, masonry and concrete, but averse to timber."

The course enables sponsors to mentor the MSc students, including offering work places.

Mr Rhodes said the challenge now was to get this year’s crop of engineering graduates to take up the scholarships.

"Our aim is to get the message across to suitable candidates across the country, and we’ve developed a new poster for universities with civil and structural engineering courses," he said.

Napier, he added, had also made the MSc more attractive by offering students who had already undertaken some timber engineering training, an adapted masters in advanced timber structural engineering. It is also looking at ‘similar education opportunities’ for the architectural and wider construction sectors.

This year’s scholarships are on offer now. The other industry supporters are the Timber Trade Federation, Structural Timber Association, Arnold Laver, Crown Timber, Norbord, Consolidated Timber Holdings, BSW Timber, James Jones & Sons, Accsys Technologies, SEMA4C, and Kingspan Timber Solutions.