How to apply for a doctoral studentship

We will not be recruiting any further cohorts of students after October 2020.

Applying for the ‘Offer of Funding’

The first stage of the application process involves applying to the CDT via this online form . This application is for the studentship itself, also known as the ‘offer of funding’. If you are successful in gaining an offer of funding, you will also be required to apply to Bath University for admission there, known as the ‘offer of a place’.

After the closing deadline (9am, 11th June) all applications will be forwarded to the Lead Supervisor of the project you have selected. They will shortlist their applicants and will contact you if they wish to interview you, and following this interview they will submit their preferred candidate to FRESH CDT.

These shortlisted candidates will be invited to a CDT panel interview held online on 30th June 2020. See ‘What happens next?’ for a more detailed explanation.


Application Tips

The application form asks question surrounding:

  • Your academic qualifications
  • Any research experience to date
  • How your experience fits you to the project(s) to which you have applied
  • Why you are interested in doing a PhD with a CDT and these  projects in particular

To help with planning your answers, a hard copy of the questions can be found here.


Applying for an ‘Offer of a Place’

Applying for an ‘Offer of a Place’ is largely a formality and mostly to check you meet all eligibility requirements of the host institution. It is not part of the selection process.

Applicants to Bath University projects will only need to complete this stage if they are successful and offered a studentship. Further information on this will be provided at the time.


What happens next?

If you are shortlisted, the lead supervisor of the project(s) to which you applied will contact you to arrange an interview sometime between 12th June and 18th June , at a mutually convenient time. The interview will be by Skype or telephone. They may ask you to send references and transcripts to assist them in their decision making.

After this interview the supervisor will put forward one candidate for their project for consideration by the GW4 FRESH CDT Management Board Interview Panel. You will be notified if you are shortlisted for this central CDT interview by Tuesday 23rd June 2020.

If you are shortlisted you will need to:

-let us that you are accepting the interview by 9am on 24th June 2020

-arrange for two academic referees to send references to the CDT by 9am on 27th June  2020
-send a copy of your academic transcript(s) by 9am on 27th June 2020;

The GW4 FRESH Panel will then consider your application form and interview you. Selection will be based on consideration against the following criteria:

  1. Why you are keen to pursue a freshwater bioscience PhD.
  2. What experience you have of freshwater research and interdisciplinary work.
  3. Whether you have the necessary personal and academic skills to complete a PhD project.
  4. Whether this scheme is suited to you and likely to best contribute to your career.


Interviews will take place by Skype or Zoom, on the 30th June 2020.

You will be sent a link to the interview – please make sure you have downloaded the relevant application in advance. Interviews will last for approx. 30 mins and you will be ask to give a short presentation on your own research outcomes.

Candidates will be notified of the outcome of the selection process no later than 1 July  2020 and must accept or decline the studentship by 6th July  .

Studentships start on 1 October 2020.


Student Eligibility

Studentships will last for 3.5 years full-time or the equivalent period part-time.

Applicants must demonstrate an outstanding academic record: at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent, or relevant masters degree.

NERC-funded studentships are subject to UKRI eligibility requirements. In short, you should be a citizen of the UK or other EU country and have been residing in the UK for the last 3 years (apart from temporary or occasional absences).

All postgraduate applicants must demonstrate a standard level English Language that will enable them to benefit fully from their course of study.

Check below for the necessary university English requirements:

University of Bath


Data Protection

If you are successful in gaining a studentship, you should be aware of how your personal data may be used by NERC/UKRI.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) handles all personal data in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) where appropriate.

To meet UKRI’s obligations for public accountability and the dissemination of information, contents of funded research proposals will also be made available on the Councils’ websites and other publicly available sources. As a condition of funding, UKRI may use the data to publish information on awards made. We may also share information with third parties to support, for example, open access publication and reporting outcomes via Researchfish. This includes data submitted through Je-S Student Details (SD).

UKRI is also subject to the UK Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) and may be required to release grant information on request, subject to appropriate exemptions.

Further information is provided by the UKRI Use of grant proposal information addendum ( and via the UKRI Privacy Notice (Privacy Notice – UK Research and Innovation)

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