Update on UKRI doctoral funding and training

Update on the doctoral focal and landscape awards, core offer and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) doctoral recruitment guidance.

UKRI research councils are preparing to commit over £500 million in 2024 to support doctoral studentships through our new doctoral landscape awards.

Doctoral award update

In November we announced that as part of our new Doctoral Training Investment Framework, from 2024, all UKRI-funded doctoral training will be delivered through two new types of awards.

The new focal and landscape awards replace the nine different schemes through which we currently support doctoral training.

The people we support through our awards will produce novel research outcomes and develop experience and skills for a wide range of careers to support the UK’s world-class research and innovation system.

2024 opportunities

2024 will be a busy year for landscape awards with those preparing to announce funding opportunities including:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Meanwhile, AHRC launched a focal award opportunity in November 2023 and NERC plans to do so in early 2024.

We are pleased to be able to provide a detailed update on these awards, including information on the approach of each council with respect to landscape award investments.

We are also today launching the new statement of expectations for doctoral training and a good practice guide for doctoral student recruitment.

Core offer update

In addition to our award types, we have a core offer at the heart of the framework.

The core offer will apply to all UKRI-funded students regardless of council, award type, or funding.

As a first step, we have a new statement of expectations which will apply to all funding opportunities launched from January 2024.

The previous statement of expectations will be retained for existing students and training grants and for funding opportunities that opened in 2023.

Stage two of our core offer will form part of our planning for the next spending review.

This will focus on providing greater parity of support for research and wider professional training, while still recognising the wider variation in discipline-related costs.

Recruitment guidance update

We have new UKRI good practice principles in recruitment and training at a doctoral level, which will apply to new funding opportunities, from across all the councils, launched in 2024 onwards.

The principles build on the pre-existing NERC expectations for doctoral recruitment and training, setting out the minimum considerations for training grant holders in implementation, monitoring and reporting.

For NERC grants awarded prior to 2024, the pre-existing document will apply, outlining NERC’s expectations for doctoral recruitment and training.


If you have any questions or would like to engage with us on this area, please contact talent@ukri.org

Top image:  Credit: Sanja Radin, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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