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Funding and scholarships for students

Award details

Biotechnological and Environmental Solutions for the Energy Transition – MSc by Research (Funded) Ref: 4404

About the award


Main Supervisor:

Professor John Love - University of Exeter Biosciences.


Dr Tim Hill - University of Exeter Geography.

Dr Richard Tennant - University of Exeter Biosciences.

Dr. Ashely Baugh - Dr. Ashely Baugh, Shell Technology Center Houston.

Dr. Ping Liu, Shell Technology Center Houston,

Dr. Jeffrey Fedenko, Shell Technology Center Houston,

Dr. Christian Davies,  Shell Technology Center Houston,


Year 1: Shell Technology Center Houston
Year 2: Biosciences, Streatham Campus, Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with Shell Technology Center Houston, is inviting applications for a fully-funded, full time MSc by Research studentship to commence in August 2022. 

For eligible students the studentship will cover Home tuition fees for 12 months and will receive a salary from Shell for 12 months.  Depending on the project area, the successful student will be registered in the departments of Biosciences or of Geographyin the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Project Description:

The continued use of fossil fuels and the related increase in greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with finite reserves of fossil fuels, has intensified the search for alternative energy sources and identification and monitoring of carbon sinks to help drive net carbon footprint down.  Shell Technology Center Houston (STCH) provides research and development capabilities in Shell’s global center of expertise for Bio-Technology, a rapidly growing area that will enable Shell to thrive in the Energy Transition.  Research at STCH focuses on the growing areas of advanced biofuels and chemicals via fermentation and bioprocessing, renewable natural gas (RNG), metagenomics, and carbon sequestration via biological sinks (e.g., soils, forests and wetlands). 

Selected applicants may focus on one or several areas, including: (i) microbial characterization and development for bioprocesses, (ii) metagenomic analysis, (iii) mapping and spatial tool development, (iv) bio-feedstock development, and (v) carbon reduction opportunities leveraging biology. Most projects will include significant hands-on lab work, and all projects will include data analysis, presentation and report writing.

This award provides funding to cover Home tuition fees only.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee. 
International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving.

The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology (Microbiology, Biotechnology, Genetics, or Synthetic Biology).   

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level (Profile B) as per our guidance at

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.

• CV

• Letter of application (maximum 1 page of A4, outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).

• Abstract of your final year research project (300 words, maximum).

• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)

• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.

• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on the 28th of January, 2022.

Interviews will be held virtually in the week commencing the 14th of February, 2022.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers) +44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)

Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:28th January 2022
Number of awards:1
Value:For eligible students the studentship will cover Home tuition fees for 12 months and will receive a salary from Shell for 12 months.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Team