UCL EPSRC Doctoral Training


UCL EPSRC DTP - Open Doctoral Studentships Competition


Applications now open

The UCL EPSRC DTP Studentships Open Competition aims to recruit outstanding students to undertake four-year fully-funded PhD studentships at UCL.

Applications for studentships starting in the 2022/23 academic session are now open.

Closing date: 12:00 on 20-Apr-2022


The EPSRC DTP (Doctoral Training Partnership) Governance Board Open Competition is intended to recruit the most promising PhD students regardless of their chosen subject area or host department. All studentship projects must lie within the EPSRC remit.

Studentships are expected to start on 26-Sep-2022 unless exceptional circumstances require an alternate start date.

[Additional information for UCL staff on the requirements for accepting and processing students' applications - UCL staff login required]

Please make sure you read all of the guidance on this page before applying.

Complete pre-application form 

Complete main application form 

Key Facts

Value: Fees, Stipend (£19,062 per year), Research Training Support Grant

Duration: Up to 4 years (thesis to be submitted within funded period)

Eligible Fee Status: Home, International

Eligible Programmes: Full- or  part-time research degrees (MPhil/PhD, MRes + PhD (1+3), or EngD) except those of EPSRC or UKRI funded CDTs (Centres for Doctoral Training)

Primary Selection Criteria: Academic merit

Available To: Prospective students

Application Deadline: 12:00 on 20 April 2022

Funding available

All studentships are fully funded for 4 years. They provide:

  • 4 years fees (Home rate)
  • Maintenance stipend at the UCL EPSRC DTP enhanced rate (£19,062 in 2022/23, rises with inflation each year)
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £4,800. This is to cover additional costs of training eg courses, project costs, conferences, travel
  • For overseas fee status students, a UCL award to cover the fee difference between the Home and international fee rate

Students will be initially registered for 4 years and are expected to submit their thesis within the 4 year funded period. The project should be designed and supervised to facilitate this.

Student Eligibility

  • You must fulfil the academic entry requirements for UCL
  • You must fulfil any additional academic entry requirements for the department programme you will be hosted by
  • These studentships are open to those with Home and International fee status (including EU); however, the number of students with International fee status which can be recruited is capped according to the EPSRC terms and conditions so competition for International places is particularly strong.

An official fee status assessment by UCL admissions will be required for all successful candidates. However, the following guidance is provided to help you determine whether you will be Home or International category for EPSRC funding:

  • UK nationals are Home category, provided they meet residency requirements.
  • EU nationals with settled status are Home category.
  • EU nationals with pre-settled status are Home category, provided they meet residency requirements.
  • Irish nationals living in UK or Ireland are Home category
  • Those who have indefinite leave to remain or enter are Home category.
  • All others are classified as International category.

Residency requirements for UK nationals:

  • living in UK, EEA, or Switzerland on 31-Dec-2020 and lived in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar for at least 3 years immediately before the studentship begins
  • lived continuously in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar between 31-Dec-2020 and the start of the studentship

Residency requirements for EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals with pre-settled status:

  • living in UK by 31-Dec-2020 (a requirement to receive pre-settled status)
  • living in UK, EEA, Switzerland, or Gibraltar for at least 3 years immediately before the studentship begins

Note: These studentships are open to those with Home and International fee status (including EU); however, the number of students recruited with International fee status which can be recruited is capped according to the EPSRC terms and conditions.

Project Eligibility

Program of study:

Your project can be within an MPhil/PhD, MRes + PhD (1+3), or EngD programme in any of the eligible host departments, listed below. However, you cannot apply for a studentship to be hosted in one of the Centres for Doctoral Training which are already funded by EPSRC or UKRI-AI. To join one of these programmes, you should apply directly to those schemes using their own application process


Your proposed research project must lie within the EPSRC remit — the EPSRC’s website provides information on the Themes and Research Areas within their remit. Host departments and supervisors can advise on available projects that are within EPSRC remit, and on remit considerations if you wish to devise your own project. The proposed project supervisor must agree to support your application.

Available host departments:

How To Apply

To apply for a funded studentship you need to complete 2 online forms:

  • pre-application form
  • main application form

The pre-application form must be completed and submitted before the main application form. The main application form must be submitted by 12:00 on 20 April 2022. 

Late or incorrect applications will not be considered.

Step 1: 

Complete the pre-application form

This form collects:

  1. Personal details which will not be shared with the review panel
  2. Reference details. More information on references below.
  • Complete the pre-application form before the main application form. After submitting the pre-application form an email will be sent to the email address you provided with your "Applicant ID". It is essential you include this applicant ID in your main application.
  • If you do not receive the email within 24 hours of submitting, check your spam/junk folder. If you still can't find it, there may be an error in the email address you provided – please simply redo the pre-application form. [Note: 123.com and qq.com email addresses frequently cause errors in the system; it is recommended that you try using an alternative email address from a free service such as gmail, yahoo, hotmail.]

Step 2

Complete the main application form

  • This form asks about your suitability and motivation for doctoral research training.
  • This form contains an online template which we review in place of a traditional CV. We collect information on your achievements and experience, grades achieved to date if you have not yet completed your current degree program.
  • A PDF preview is provided so you can prepare your answers in advance of completing the online form; however we cannot accept applications via email/PDF. You must submit your application using the online form.

The host department you are applying to should not request your CV, grade transcript, or any other application documents from you. Please email the DTP administrator (epsrc.dtp@ucl.ac.uk) with any concerns and/or if you are asked to provide additional documents/information


In the pre-application form, you need to provide the details (name, email, institution/organisation) of two people who can provide a reference for you.

Who can be a referee:

Your referees cannot be part of the proposed supervisory team for the doctoral study you are applying for. Referee 1 must be an academic reference (if your most recent academic qualification was more than 5 years ago this can be substituted by a reference related to research experience gained during employment).

Make sure you have permission from your referees, and confirmation that they will be able to submit a reference within the timeframe, if requested.

How references are collected:

References will only be requested for candidates who reach stage 3 of the selection process. Reference requests will be made on 08 June 2022 with a deadline to submit by 22 June 2022.

Where required, reference requests will be sent directly to the referees using the email address you provide in your pre-application form. The email address must be their institution/organisation email address. Personal email addresses such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo, 123.com, qq.com, etc. will not be accepted. It is your responsibility to ensure that you enter email addresses correctly. If your referees cannot be contacted to provide a reference, your application will be rejected.

Grade Transcripts

  • Grade Transcripts will only be requested if you reach stage 3 of the selection process.
  • If you have not yet completed your current degree program you will need to supply a transcript of all grades received so far.
  • If required, transcript requests will be made on 08 June 2022 with a deadline to submit by 22 June 2022.
  • For all completed degrees you must supply the official award/certificate and transcript. You must ensure that your transcripts clearly explain the range of grades possible – this is particularly important for non-UK qualifications.
  • For a degree you have not yet completed, your transcript of grades achieved so far can be in the form of screenshot(s) from your institution’s student records system. If you are providing screenshots you must ensure each one also includes the URL of the viewing page to demonstrate authenticity.
  • All of your awards/certificates and transcripts must be combined into a single PDF file. The file name must be in the format applicantID_transcript.pdf

We strongly advise you to prepare these documents when submitting your application so that you are able to respond quickly if they are requested from you on 08 June.

Diversity monitoring data

The UCL EPSRC DTP is committed to equality of opportunity in our studentship selection processes.

The pre-application form collects diversity monitoring data. By providing this information, you will help us to ensure that our policies and procedures are effective in avoiding discrimination and promoting equal opportunities in making those awards.

You have the option to select “not disclosed” for any of the questions. The answers you supply will be kept confidential. The data will not be sent to reviewing panel members, and the answers you give will have no bearing on the outcome of your application. When analysing the data internally it is aggregated and not considered on an individual basis.

You can view UCL's privacy policy at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/ucl-prospective-students-enquirers-and-applicants-privacy-notice

UCL has an obligation to report the data on all applicants to EPSRC (the funder). The data is aggregated before reporting and will not be linked to individual applicants. Please review their data policy (https://epsrc.ukri.org/use/privacy-notice/).

What happens after applying

Applications will be reviewed in a 3-stage process. Make sure you respond quickly to any correspondence about the application process during this period.

Outcomes are expected to be confirmed by mid-July, although this may be later in the case of reserve candidates

Stage 1: Initial departmental review

Main application form is sent to the host department. All applications are anonymised. The department will review and shortlist candidates

Stage 2: Shortlisting and interview

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by their proposed host department with an invite to attend an interview (likely to be held online). If you have any adaptations/requirements to enable you to attend an interview, please make sure you provide these in your pre-application form so that supportive arrangements can be made accordingly.

Stage 3: Nomination to central panel and final selection

Department selects up to 3 candidates from those interviewed to nominate to the central selection panel. As part of this nomination the central panel will receive information on the proposed research project from the proposed supervisor, and information on the proposed supervisory team and the training program from the department.

If you are nominated to the central panel, the EPSRC DTP will:

  • contact you to provide your grade transcripts
  • contact your referees to provide a reference for you

Nominations will be reviewed by a panel of senior academics representing diverse areas of UCL from across EPSRC’s subject area remit.

Selection criteria:

Primary criteria

  1. Candidate’s academic performance and skills to date
  2. Candidate’s potential for success and excellence in doctoral research and potential for future success

Secondary criteria / suitability checks

  1. Fit to EPSRC remit. The DTP can only fund projects that are within EPSRC’s remit.
  2. Suitability of project, to ensure a high quality of training for success
  3. Suitability of supervisory team / host department, to ensure a high quality experience

What happens if you are not selected

There is always strong competition for funded studentships. If you receive a rejection from this open competition, it does not mean that you have been rejected by UCL or other funding opportunities you have applied to. You should receive separate outcome notifications from other opportunities you have applied to. You are advised to contact the department you applied to be hosted by to see if there are other opportunities you can apply to.

Appeals and complaints

As applications are reviewed by panels of academic staff in a multi-step process, it will not be possible to request an appeal if you disagree with the outcome of your application on grounds of the academic assessment or judgement made.

However, if you think that the published process (as shown on this webpage) has not been followed, you may contact epsrc.dtp@ucl.ac.uk to raise your concern. Please clearly mark your email DTP OPEN COMPETITION APPEAL in the subject line. Your appeal and application will be reviewed by a panel in light of this new information.