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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

BBSRC South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio)

Applications for September 2023 are now open.

There are over 35 fully-funded 4 year PhD studentships* available to start in September 2023, across a wide range of bioscience disciplines.

To view projects on offer, and details on how to apply, visit the SWBio DTP website.

* Subject to meeting eligibility requirements.

About the SWBio DTP

The BBSRC-funded South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) is led by the University of Bristol, together with the Universities of Bath, Cardiff and Exeter, alongside Rothamsted Research. This partnership also includes the following associate partners; Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), SETsquared Bristol, Swansea University, UCB Pharma, and University of the West of England (UWE).

These institutions represent a distinctive group of bioscience research staff and students, with established international, national and regional networks, and widely recognised research excellence. As research leaders, we have a strong track record in advancing knowledge through high-quality research and teaching, in partnership with industry and the government.

 The programme particularly aims to provide students with outstanding interdisciplinary research training within the following themes:

Importantly this research training is also underpinned by transformative technologies, allowing you to expand the boundaries of your research through innovative tools, technologies and approaches.

You will be recruited to a broad, interdisciplinary project, supported by a multidisciplinary supervisory team, with many cross-institutional PhD projects available that build on the expertise of each of our partners.  There are also opportunities to:

  • apply your research in an industrial setting through our projects with an industrial partner (DTP CASE studentships).
  • undertake research jointly with some of our core and collaborative partners (Standard DTP studentships with a collaborative partner).
  • work with other national/international researchers
  • undertake fieldwork

Some projects will also offer working with other national/international researchers, as well as fieldwork opportunities. 

A structured approach to training will be adopted throughout a 4-year PhD model, to ensure you are well equipped as a bioscience researcher for leadership positions in academia, industry and beyond.

First year

In the first year, we provide a broad awareness of the fundamental research approaches in life sciences and how they could be applied to real-life situations through taught units and rotation projects. You will complete:

  • three common taught units - bespoke for the SWBio DTP

    Training you in skills to enable you to be at the forefront of cutting-edge bioscience research as well as equip you with many transferable skills, giving you the agility to navigate different career paths.  This includes training in Statistics, Bioinformatics, coding, experimental design, innovation and understanding the impact of your research.
  •  two rotation projects - both allied with but in different disciplinary areas related to the PhD project

    Where possible, this will allow refinement of your PhD project in line with your emerging research interests as the programme progresses.

You will need to successfully complete the first year to be able to progress into your second year of studies.  An MRes exit route is available at the end of year one should this be required.

Second to fourth years

The remaining three years will be more like a conventional PhD and you will be taking on full-time research with your PhD supervisory team.

The PhD thesis must be submitted within 4 years of starting the programme.

You will also take part in a three-month full-time placement (or part-time equivalent) outside of an academic research environment*. Placements are intended to broaden the scope of your employability after your PhD. In particular, it will encourage you to use your doctoral training skills in a broader range of careers.

Examples of placements include working within policy, science communication, industry and scientific publishing.

Further information about our PIPS scheme >>

*PIPS is optional for CASE studentships as these projects will involve an industrial placement with the CASE partner for 3-18 months.

You will also have the opportunity to attend a number of SWBio DTP cohort activities held across the partnership, such as annual student conferences, workshops, research theme activities and outreach events where you will get the chance to meet and interact with other students from the partnership, giving you access to a multidisciplinary and supportive student network.

Further information about our cohort activities >>

We want to support diverse and inclusive work environments. We therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status. We welcome applications from individuals who have previously studied at any recognised Higher Education Institute and from a range of career paths (please refer to the SWBio DTP academic criteria for eligibility), including individuals who have previously trained in the sciences and are wanting to return to scientific research

Application deadline

How to apply >>

Midnight, Monday 5 December 2022

For further information, please visit the SWBio DTP website.

Projects and PhD studentships available