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EPSRC Doctoral Prize

Applications now being accepted for the Winter Round: Deadline December 19th 2018

The EPSRC Doctoral Prize scheme supports fellowships of two years' duration for exceptional researchers who have recently finished an EPSRC-funded PhD. UCL has approximately 10 awards to make every year. 

These are prestigious fellowships that are intended to provide support for outstanding candidates who are beginning to develop independent research careers. They are not intended as follow-on support to enable recently graduated students to continue working on their PhD project.

We are looking to provide opportunities for candidates who anticipate applying for prestigious fellowships (for example, those offered by the Royal Academy of Engineering, EPSRC or the Royal Society) and would benefit from a further two years' funding before making such applications.

Calls for applications are held every 6 months with closing dates in December and June. Students from other institutions who meet the eligibility criteria may also apply to join UCL under this scheme.

Doctoral Prize fellowships are 2 years in duration. They cover the applicant's salary for 2 years as well as research-related costs. Fellows should propose a project which, although can build on their PhD studies, should constitute a new and discrete programme of work. Doctoral Prize awardees are expected to apply for further fellowship funding, from external sources, within the duration of their award. Host Departments should nominate a suitable mentor for each successful fellow, who will be their first point of contact for all matters relating to their personal and professional development as an independent researcher.

Financial Details

The fellow's salary will be calculated based on the standard UCL starting salary for postdoctoral researchers. Applicants can also request research expenses including travel & subsistence, consumables and facilities costs. Typically, requests of up to £10K/annum will be considered reasonable, although it is recognised that this will vary by domain. All costs, except for the fellow's salary, need to be fully justified. Note that the funds cannot be used to buy any single piece of equipment costing more than £10,000.

  • Applicants should either be about to submit their PhD, or have submitted their PhD no more than 6 months before the closing date;
  • The proposed project must be primarily within the EPSRC remit;
  • The candidate must have the support of their host Department, who will nominate a suitable mentor for the applicant;
  • The project mentor must not be the candidates' PhD Supervisor
  • The proposed project must be 2 years in duration;
  • The candidate must have received EPSRC PhD funding prior to the award;
  • The candidate must have submitted their PhD before the fellowship can commence;
  • Candidates must have the right to work in the UK;
  • If unsuccessful, applicants are not allowed to reapply for this scheme unless they have been specifically invited to by the panel.

Proposals should be led and submitted by the fellowship candidate. The application should consist of a:

  • 3-side Case for Support
  • 2-side CV
  • 1-side Host Department Letter of Support

All documents should be written in font size 11 or above (Arial or Times New Roman) with 2cm margins all around.

The Case for Support (no more than 3 sides) should give details of the applicant's name and host department, the start and end date, the project title, and the proposed mentor. It should also describe the background, aims and objectives, methodology and work plan for the project, and include a brief statement of the applicant's career goals. It should also detail and justify all non-salary costs. Applicants are encouraged to consider the review criteria in preparing their proposal.

The Letter of Support (no more than one side) should be signed by the relevant Head of Department. As well as detailing the personal qualities of the applicant, it should detail the fit of the proposed project to the Department's research strategy, and the support the candidate will receive if successful (including mentoring).

Applications should be submitted to Emma Grant (emma.grant[@]ucl.ac.uk) by 11.59pm on December 19th 2018.

Applications will be considered by a small panel of academics, chaired by Professor Tony Kenyon, Vice-Dean for Research, Faculty of Engineering Sciences. As part of the assessment, applicants will be asked to attend a short 15-minute interview during which they will also provide a 3-minute presentation about their proposed project. Interviews will be held at UCL (exact timings  & date TBC). For external candidates, to minimise travel requirements, it will be possible to join this interview virtually (via Skype). Depending on demand, it may be necessary to pre-select a subset of candidates for interview based on the documents submitted.

The criteria used by the panel to select successful candidates will be as follows:

  • Track record of the applicant (in research as well as related duties such as supervision, teaching, public engagement, knowledge transfer, and so on);
  • Quality of the proposed project (including perceived novelty, planning and methodology);
  • Appropriateness of the resources;
  • Independence, leadership potential, and long-term career plans of the applicant.
  • Successful applicants will be granted up to one calendar year to commence their fellowships. Where there is a delay, awards will be reduced or withdrawn. 
  •  Successful applicants can commence the fellowship prior to their viva, however fellowships may be withdrawn should candidates fail the viva or receive substantial corrections
  • Successful applicants are expected to deliver outreach as part of their award
  • Successful applicant's project and personal details will be reported to EPSRC for monitoring purposes. 
  • On completion of their Fellowship, successful candidates will be asked to report on their Fellowship, including details of outputs, impact, benefits etc. which can be reported to EPSRC as required.

Bartlett Faculty of Built Environment - Heads of Department

Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) Prof Andrew Hudson-Smith
Bartlett School of Environment, Energy, & Resources Prof Tadj Oreszczyn
Bartlett School of Architecture Prof Bob Sheil

 Faculty of Engineering - Heads of Department

Biochemical Engineering Prof Gary Lye
Chemical Engineering Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens
Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Prof Stuart Robson
Computer Science Prof John Shawe-Taylor
Electronic & Electrical Engineering Prof Sarah Spurgeon
Mechanical Engineering Prof Yiannis Ventikos
Medical Physics & Bioengineering Prof Jem Hebden
Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy Dr Jason Blackstock
Security & Crime Science Prof Richard Wortley

Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MAPS) - Heads of Department

Chemistry Prof Claire Carmalt
CoMPLEX Dr Guy Moss
Earth Sciences Prof Lars Stixrude
London Centre for Nanotechnology Prof Andrew Fisher
Mathematics Prof Robb McDonald
Physics & Astronomy Prof Jonathan Butterworth
Statistical Sciences Prof Richard Chandler

The above list is not extensive and candidates can therefore approach Heads of Departments not listed if they so wish.

2017 - 2018

Dr Matthew Darby (Chemical Engineering) Single Sheet MoS2 Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass to Hydrocarbon Fuels
Dr Zach Eaton-Rosen (CMIC) Radiogenomics and radiometabolomics for precision medicine in cancer
Dr Virginia Gori (BSEER) Bayesian Building Physics: The Rapid Characterisation of Dynamic Building Heat Loss
Dr Sherry Nakhaeizadeh (Security & Crime Science) The use of eye-tracking technology in forensic decision-making: An empirical approaches to advancing the understanding of complex visual tasks in forensic anthropology
Dr Ciprian Pruteanu (Physics & Astronomy) Is High Pressure the End of Hydrophobicity?

2016-2017

Dr Christopher Birkbeck (Mathematics) Geometric aspects of eigenvarieties associated to Hilbert modular forms
Dr Anasua Chatterjee (LCN) A Hybrid Qubit in CMOS Silicon for Quantum Information
Dr Richard Colchester (Medical Physics)  All-Optical IntravascularUltrasound (AO-IVUS) for interventional surgical procedures
Dr Ying Lia Li (Physics & Astronomy) The development of a prototype whispering gallery mode inertial sensor
Dr Gibril Kallon (Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering) Fast and cost-effective x-ray phase contrast tomography for image guided therapy
Dr Ciarán Lee (Physics and Astronomy) Perfectly secure communication over large scale quantum networks
Dr Kim Moore (Mathematics) Topics in calibrated geometry
Dr Bethan Morgan (School of Construction and Project Management (SCPM)) Value creation through technology in use:innovative applications of Building Information Modelling in the construction industry
Dr Gui Zhen Teoh (Surgery & Interventional Science) A 2-in-1 Scaffold-Bioreactor for Paediatric Airway Tissue Engineering
Dr Alexandra Young (CMIC/Computer Science) Data-driven screening tools for dementia

2015-2016

Dr Andrada Ianus Savickas  (CMIC/Computer Science) Quantitative diffusion MRI for prostate cancer grading
Dr Simon Myerson (Mathematics) New applications of the circle method to Diophantine problems
Dr Gregorio Rodriguez (Biochemical Engineering) Engineering principles underpinning the large scale manufacture of cell-based therapies
Dr Edward Parsons (LCN) Nanoscale Self-Assembly to Combat Bacterial Infection
Dr Alaric Taylor (Chemistry) Low-cost, up-scalable strategies for nanostructuring functional materials via lithographic, nanosphere self-assembly

How do I apply?

Applications should be submitted via email to the Doctoral Training Manager, Miss Emma Grant (emma.grant[@]ucl.ac.uk) by 11.59pm on December 19th 2018.

Please see the Proposal Format tab for details of what to include in your application.

I've not submitted my PhD yet, can I apply?

Applicants can apply before they have submitted their PhD, however they must be within 6 months of submitting at the point of application.

There are two application Rounds for the Doctoral Prize, December & June so applicants should submit an application for the Round that is closest to their PhD submission.

I've submitted the final version of my PhD, can I apply?

Candidates should have submitted their PhD no more than 6 months prior to the closing date.

I've not studied my PhD at UCL, can I apply?

 Yes, we encourage applications from students external to UCL. 

My PhD wasn't funded by EPSRC, can I apply?

Unfortunately not, the EPSRC regulations stipulate that applicants must have been funded by EPSRC for their Research Degree in order to be eligible. 

Can my co-supervisor be my mentor?

The focus of the Doctoral Prize Fellowship is to gain academic independence and it is therefore not appropriate to have your primary, or co-supervisor as a mentor. 

What is the role of the mentor?

The idea of the mentor is that they provide advice regarding non-technical aspects e.g. career development, applying for other funding, dealing with industry, what training to look for, working with IP, finding work-life balance etc. 

For technical input candidates can have collaborators and/or partners, however the mentor should ideally be someone you don't work closely with.

I'm a current UCL student, should my mentor be from my current department?

The mentor doesn't have to be someone from your current department, however they should be based within the department that will host your project for the duration of the Fellowship.

Can my project include a collaboration with another Institute or Industry?

Yes, projects can be in collaboration with another Institute or Industry providing that the candidate is primarily based at UCL.

When will I hear if I have been invited to interview?

Candidates will be notified within the week leading up to the interview date, if they have been invited to interview. Details of the interview date can be found in the Review Criteria tab.

If I'm successful, how soon do I need to start?

Candidates must commence their fellowship within 1 year of being awarded.

The project proposal should indicate the intended start date of the project - if you wish to start as soon as possible, please ensure to factor in sufficient time for all the necessary paperwork to be processed.

Do I need to have completed my viva before I start the Fellowship?

Successful applicants don't have to have had their viva when commencing their Fellowship, however Fellowships may be withdrawn should candidates fail the viva or receive substantial corrections.

For further information, please contact the BEAMS Doctoral Training Manager, Miss Emma Grant at emma.grant@ucl.ac.uk