Available studentships and training awards
Changes to NERC support for postgraduate training
At the start of 2012 NERC announced a new strategic approach to supporting postgraduate training. These changes will be phased in over a two year period. Studentships starting in the academic years 2012-13 and 2013-14 will continue to be allocated through existing mechanisms.
The studentship algorithm is used to determine the main allocation of NERC studentships each year. An algorithm, based on research grant and fellowship funding over a three-year period, determines the number of studentships allocated to a university department, faculty or a research centre. The organisations decide what studentship projects will be supported (whereas for the other schemes, NERC is funding a specified project). The list of organisations with NERC Algorithm PhD funding can be found on the Previous awards.
The list of organisations with NERC algorithm PhD funding for October 2013 PhD starts is now available.
The funding is provided as flexible Doctoral Training Grants (DTGs) with funding for anywhere between one and ten studentships.
The DTG includes all funds for the studentship (except Disabled Students' Allowance), including the students stipend, the fees and an enlarged Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) which should be used to fund fieldwork and consumables, etc. There is no separate procedure for applying for fieldwork and exceptional consumables.
Competition based studentships
These are also called Directed Research Studentships. Potential supervisors submit a proposal for a studentship project to a call for proposals. The proposals are peer reviewed by a Panel and a small number are approved for NERC funding. A student must then be found to undertake the specified project. There are two studentship calls:
These studentship projects can either be applied for as part of a large grant (consortium) or as part of certain Research Programmes. Further information can be found on the Project Studentships page.
NERC also funds interdisciplinary studentships at the interface with some other Research Councils.
Short course support
Some short courses currently have extra NERC support.
NERC is running a pilot scheme for Postgraduate & Professional Skills Development Courses, with over 500 fully-funded places available for 2013-2014.
Centres for Doctoral Training
Institutions eligible for NERC research funding can apply to become a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), either alone or as a consortium with other eligible research organisations. NERC CDTs will host NERC-funded PhD students undertaking doctoral research and skills training in identified strategically important science areas in collaboration with partners from industry and other sectors. The science and skills areas that will form the focus of the doctoral training will be unique to each NERC CDT.
Funding will be awarded to each CDT to support a number of students who will join in a number of cohorts spread over the life of the CDT. This funding will support the students' stipends, fees and RTSG as well as providing training opportunities to develop the particular, specialist skills linked to the strategic priorities or skill needs associated with the CDT. CDT studentships will last up to four years. The CASE studentship requirements vary between each CDT.
There is currently one CDT call:
NERC Student Photography & Short Article Writing Competition
NERC invites submissions from current and recently finished NERC students for the NERC Student Photography & Short Article Writing Competition.
Disabled students allowance
If a student has a long-term disability, and as a result of that disability they are obliged to incur additional expenditure in connection with their studies, they may be eligible for extra allowances, known as Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). Any student receiving NERC funding for their PhD studentship can apply for DSA. Details of how this is done can be found on the Applying for Disabled Students Allowance page. Approved funding for DSA will be added as a new funding stream to the relevant training grant or research grant.
Stipend and fees level
The Studentship Handbook will be updated with the RCUK agreed stipend and fees rates as soon as possible after they are known. The PhD stipend rate and fees rates can also be found on the RCUK website.
Further details of studentship funding and Terms and Conditions for Training Grants can be found in the Studentship Handbook.
The Terms and Conditions for Research Grants (applicable to Project studentship funds) can be found in the Research Grants and Fellowships Handbook.
If you have any further questions after consulting these documents contact the Training Awards Team.