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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Important Information about the EPSRC DTP Studentship

The University of Exeter is offering up to 15 fully funded doctoral studentships for September 2024 entry as part of our Doctoral Training Partnership with the EPSRC (Engineering, Physical Sciences Research Council).

The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. The EPSRC's portfolio ranges from digital technologies to clean energy, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry.

About the Scheme

This application process for this scheme is student-centred, where you are asked to contact a member of academic staff with relevant expertise and appropriate track record of EPSRC-facing research. As part of your application you will need to prepare a short research proposal (see EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Application Form – Research Summary) with their help.  Our research priorities for these studentships are based around those identified by the funder (EPSRC), however we particularly encourage applications for mulltidiciplinary projects, and those that have the potential to align with industry or other external organisations.

These studentships are competitively assessed. They will be shortlisted by departments after full consideration of your application documents, which include (but not limited to) your references, academic record, and the Research Summary form (including the research proposal, and your personal motivation).   Interviews will take place in during the week of 25 March 2024, and applicants that progress to this stage will be expected to have detailed understanding of their research proposal.   The University’s EPSRC Advisory Group, in partnership with the Doctoral College, will make offers to successful applicants in April 2024.

Your first step is to identify a supervisor who carries out research in the area that you are keen to pursue a PhD. Applications are made to the department in which your supervisor is based, and your preferred supervisor will be asked to provide a statement of support to accompany your application. 

Studentship Funding Information

For successful eligible applicants the studentship comprises:

  • An index-linked stipend for up to 3.5 years full time (currently £18,622 per annum for 2023/24), pro-rata for part-time students. 
  • Payment of University tuition fees.
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £5,000 over 3.5 years, or pro-rata for part-time students

Application process

Your Supervisory Team

The supervisory team will be made up of at least two University of Exeter academic staff.  The location for studying your PhD will dependant on where the lead supervisor is based either in Devon or Cornwall, and your application should be made to the department where the lead supervisor is based.

To find a suitable academic supervisor please see the information in the Finding your Academic Supervisor section.

Funding Eligibility

Please refer to the UKRI EPSRC residency criteria web page alongside the information provided below.

Home students

Fully-funded studentships are available for Home students.  To be classed as a Home student, you must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have settled status, or
• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,
• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

International students

If you do not meet the nationality and residency requirements to be treated as a ‘home’ student, you may still apply for a limited number of fully-funded studentships for international students.  

Please be aware that that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD.

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 the Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


You should 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, engineering or technology.  Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Masters degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency prior to starting your programme of study. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests

You must apply for these EPSRC DTP studentships via the department in which your lead (main) supervisor is based, see Submitting an Application section below.  If you have any quesitons about this, please discuss this with them.  

You will need to upload the following documents as part of your application. Incomplete applications, or applications with documents that are missing required information, will normally be rejected without further communication to the applicant.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, e.g. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”:

  • CV
  • A fully completed "EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Application Form – Research Summary" form. This should be uploaded using the Research Proposal option.
  • Letter of application outlining your academic interests, and prior research experience.
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained. This should be an interim transcript if you are still studying.
  • Two references (see Reference information section below)
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to submit evidence of your current proficiency in English.  For further details on the University’s English language requirements please see

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

The closing date for applications is midnight (GMT) on 19th February 2024.  Shorlisting and interviews for the Studentships will take place during the week commencing 25 March 2024. We intend to communicate the outcome of the interviews by mid April 2024.  Details regarding the format of the interview will be communicated to applicants invited to interview, but applicants should be prepared to discuss the research proposal in detail.  

Reference information

It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees email their references to, by no later than 19th February 2024 Please note that applications with missing documentation will not progress to shortlisting.

References should be in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from a personal/private email account, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.


Submitting an Application

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) supports research and talent across engineering and the physical sciences.  To ensure your application reaches the correct panel, please apply to the department agreed with your proposed supervisor, via one of the links below.

Core departments

These are the departments that are most closely aligned to EPSRC.  Please be aware that other funding opportunities may be available through the EPSRC or directly with industry partners; your propsed supervisor will be able to advise, or see here.

Other departments with EPSRC links

We welcome multidiciplinary projects, with links to Engineering and Physical Sciences.  However if your primary supervisor is from these departments, please be aware that PhD stduentships from other funders may be available. Please speak to your proposed supervisor, or see here.  


The University of Exeter is committed to promoting and supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion within our working environments and is at the heart of all our activities.  With over 27,000 students and 6,400 staff from 180 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength. 

We actively encourage applicants with varied experiences and backgrounds and from all sections of the community regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or disability status.  We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive.

Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our postgraduate research student community.  Reasonable adjustments can be made available for interviews and workspaces.

During the application process, the University may need to make certain disclosures of your personal data to third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates.  These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

  • the selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;
  • administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data (relating to disability and race/ethnicity) will not be disclosed without your explicit consent.