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Doctoral College Studentship

Application process for project-led competition

Applications are invited from academic staff to apply for funding for projects involving a collaborative partner. Collaborating partners can be private sector companies, public sector bodies or voluntary organisations. The collaborating partner can provide PhD students with the opportunity to gain experience of work outside an academic environment, though collaborations with other higher education institutions are also encouraged. Collaborative projects that involve a financial contribution from the collaborative partner will be prioritised.

Supervisors who are interested in applying, should follow the three-stage process below to help you prepare and submit your application:

  1. Identify and discuss the project with a collaborative partner: Before submitting an application, you should discuss the proposal with a potential collaborative partner. At this point, you should ascertain the contribution (financial or otherwise) that the partner is willing to make towards the project and scope out the PhD project. Note that all applications have to be accompanied by a letter of support from the collaborator.
  2. Complete the Project-led Studentship Award application form: The application form is available here. A guidance document is available to help you complete your application. Once you have completed your form, please submit it to by the deadline of 10am, Tuesday 24 April 2018.  
  3. Recruit a student: You will be advised week commencing 21 May if your project has been funded. You can then recruit a student to your project through the usual channels. The PGR Campaigns Officer will offer support in how to advertise your project (please contact Claire Gamell for support with this). The deadline for applicants to apply for the project is Thursday 21 June 2018. The Doctoral College must be informed by 10am Thursday 5 July 2018 of the name of the student recruited to the project. Note that if a student is not recruited by this point, the funding may be re-allocated. Funding offers will be sent to students w/c 16 July 2018.


Doctoral College Competition

The ESRC has been allocated 7 additional studentships focussing on Artificial Intelligence, which it will allocate via a supervisor-led competition across the Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP). The ESRC have provided detail documentation:

The key points and the application process and deadline are summarised below, for your ease of reference. Please note the very tight turnaround time for this competition: supervisors are required to submit their applications to the SeNSS office by 16.00 on 17 April 2018.

Key points for this competition:

  1. Applications must address the priority theme of applications and implications of AI). Further information on this theme can be found in Annex I of the guidance on the UKRI CDT call which is available at:
  2. Whilst the primary research area must be within the social sciences, the ESRC is encouraging inter/multidisciplinary working both within and beyond the social sciences, as long as at least 50% of the proposed programme of research is within ESRC remit. Please refer to the list of research areas that fall within ESRC remit ( funding/discipline-classifications) for further information.
  3.  Whilst it is not mandatory for these studentships to involve business or industry project partners, this is strongly encouraged by the ESRC. If your application is for a collaborative AI studentship, you will need to ensure that a collaboration agreement is in place for the start of the studentship.
  4. Please note that these awards are for new studentships; they cannot be used to fund projects already underway.
  5. Each DTP can submit up to a maximum of two proposals for consideration by the ESRC.

Application process and deadlines:

1) Potential supervisors must complete the proforma "Allocation letter - Annex II". The criteria for assessing the applications are outlined in "Allocation letter - Annex 1". The application must be accompanied by a letter of support from the DTP Director.

2) The internal SeNSS deadline for supervisors to email their applications to the SeNSS office ( will be 16.00 on 17 April 2018. This is to give the core team time to sift these applications to identify the best two applications to submit to the ESRC, and for the acting Director to write the required letter of support for these applications, ahead of the ESRC deadline of 16.00 on Friday 20 April 2018.

3) The applications forwarded to the ESRC will be assessed by a specially convened ESRC panel and, if successful, SeNSS can recruit a student to start in October 2018. 

Please contact Dr Felicity Szesnat, SeNSS Manager, T  01206 873363, E for further details.

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