South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) studentship

The South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the ESRC, is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is in partnership between six UK universities. SEDarc are offering ESRC fully funded studentships at the University of Surrey.

Start date

1 October 2024


Depending on what the student applies for: 3, 3.5 or 3+1 years (or Part-time equivalent)

Application deadline

Funding source

The University of Surrey and ESRC

Funding information

Studentships are awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal.

This competition-funded studentship is available to UK and International students and includes full UK or International fee waiver and stipend at UKRI rates.


The SEDarc Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the ESRC is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is a partnership between the Universities of Kent, Kingston, Reading, Royal Holloway, Surrey, and Sussex. At the University of Surrey, SEDarc offers ESRC studentships to high-quality research students wishing to study business and management; hospitality, leisure, and tourism; economics; linguistics; politics and international relations; psychology; sociology; or related multidisciplinary topics.

Within these subject areas, SEDarc funds projects in five thematic areas:

  • Living Sustainably: Climate change, Net Zero, green & circular economies, biodiversity & conservation, ecosystem services, energy, good and resource security, environmental risks, resilience & justice, environmental understanding, education & behaviour change, group norms, managing population movements linked to environmental change, conservation across age and cultures.
  • Healthy Thriving Communities: Health & social care; wellbeing; health inequalities, public policy, services & goods; poverty; equality, diversity & inclusion; place, identity & citizenship; voluntarism; transport & mobility; neighbourhood dynamics; housing & homelessness; families, childhood & youth; ageing; schools, education trajectories & effective interventions; intergroup interactions; migration.
  • Inclusive Economics Growth: Mechanisms, regulatory frameworks & policies that promote inclusive growth; macro-economic (in)stability; taxation & fiscal policies; global, regional, place-based & demographic inequalities; education & skills; lifelong learning; labour market outcomes; fair work & pay gaps; sustainability & legitimacy of growth strategies; economics decision making.
  • Secure, Effective, & Trusted Institutions: Shifting geopolitical orders & the role of institutions; future international trade frameworks; operation, effect & legitimacy of democratic institutions; effective legal frameworks & systems for ensuring justice; human rights; forced displacement; modern slavery; peacebuilding & conflict resolution; diversifying leadership.
  • Transformative Technologies for Society: Societal shaping & outcomes of AI, robotics & VR/immersive media; socio-economics aspects of transformative technologies, including face recognition, computer vision & natural language processing; digital technologies in education, (mental) health, and justice; societal engagements with cybersecurity; fintech & livelihood strategies; technological change & future of work; digital divides and digital inclusion.

A professional placement of three months (if full-time) forms a key element of studentships funded by SEDarc. Placement partners can be from public, private, or academic sectors. There are 40 placement partners, however students are also encouraged to source their own placement so that it best serves their career goals. Applications will need to indicate potential placement partners.

Eligibility criteria

Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful.

Open to home and international candidates. Please see guidance on residency requirements outlined in the UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) Terms and Conditions of Research Council Training Grants.

English language requirements

Please see course entry requirements on the relevant PhD programme page.

How to apply

It is not possible to apply directly to SEDarc for a studentship, applications for students wishing to be based at Surrey must be made via the University of Surrey.

Your SEDarc application will therefore go through a two-stage process, being considered firstly by either the School of EconomicsSchool of Hospitality and TourismSchool of Literature and Languages, School of Psychology, Department of SociologyDepartment of Politics, or the Surrey Business School to go forward to SEDarc and, if successful, secondly by a panel of subject specialists from SEDarc members.

Steps of application

You will need to take the following steps to submit an application for a studentship:

1. Identify and speak to a prospective supervisor

Identify a prospective supervisor from the school of your choice and contact them to discuss your project before applying. You can find them through these school websites:

2. Inform the PGR director 

You should also inform the PGR director that you are interested in applying for SEDarc funding:

School of Economics

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

School of Literature and Languages

School of Psychology

Department of Sociology

Department of Politics

Surrey Business School

3. Apply for a place on a PhD programme (deadline: 26 January 2024)

Please browse our programme listings for a relevant programme. You can apply for a place by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the relevant programme page) please select October 2024 as your start date).

When applying, you must submit a completed SEDarc Doctoral Training Partnership Stage 1 application form (docx) in place of a research proposal. Longlisted applicants will be invited for an interview. Please see the guidance notes (PDF).

4. Apply for a SEDarc studentship (deadline if shortlisted 19 February)

Following the outcome of interviews, shortlisted candidates will be invited to complete the formal SEDarc online application.

Studentship FAQs

Read our studentship FAQs to find out more about applying and funding.

Application deadline

Contact details


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.