Doctoral training



Note to prospective students interested in applying for a studentship or funding:
Please note there is no route for prospective students to apply directly to BBSRC for a studentship. BBSRC provides UK universities with doctoral training grants to support BBSRC-funded studentships. The advertisement of opportunities and recruitment of studentships is managed by the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) or Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP). Any students interested in BBSRC-funded studentships should contact the research organisation or university at which they wish to study directly, including information on how to apply and eligibility.

BBSRC Collaborative Training Partnerships (CTP)

BBSRC’s CTPs co-invest in training the next generation of skilled people for the research base and wider bioeconomy. Our vision is to provide PhD students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration, between academic and partner organisations.

Allocations are made to non-academic partners having established track records in collaborative doctoral training and businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice in research relevant to our remit and strategic priority areas.

CTPs are one of the main ways in which BBSRC funds collaborative training and enables businesses to better integrate studentships into their planning cycles.

Find out about awarded CTP in 2022: Bio-researchers of the future get £22.5 million boost.

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP)

Investments in doctoral training are a key component of UKRI and BBSRC’s overarching goals to develop research talent and skills. BBSRC’s vision is for an innovative, inclusive and outcomes-focused programme of doctoral training to build and maintain the capacity of bioscience disciplines and deliver skills for impact across the UK economy.

BBSRC DTPs provide PhD training in areas of research relevant to BBSRC’s remit and priority research areas. DTPs also provide a breadth of professional development training opportunities to enhance the capabilities of doctoral candidates and develop a world-class, highly skilled workforce for the UK.

DTP courses offer four-year PhD studentships, during which each student also undertakes a three-month Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) placement. There have been three DTP calls, DTP1 (October 2012-2014), DTP2 (October 2015-2019) and DTP3 (October 2020-2024) with the latest funding opportunity supporting 340 students per year. The allocations held by the successful DTP3 grant holders are detailed below.

The disabled students allowance is available to DTP students and this should be applied for via the Research Organisation offering the DTP studentship.

Note: Please refer to the UKRI training grant terms and conditions and guidance for relevant information.

BBSRC Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (CASE)

CASE studentships involve students enhancing their training by spending three to 18 months with a CASE partner in a workplace outside of the academic environment. This placement is flexible and does not have to occur in a single continuous period.

Institutions in receipt of DTP have a target of converting 25% of the funds into CASE awards (DTP CASE), whereas all CTP studentships are CASE studentships.

The aim of these studentships is to promote collaboration between the research community and end-users of research.

Although not mandatory, we encourage CASE partners to make a financial contribution to the project, such as covering the costs incurred by the student when visiting and working within their establishment.

The financial support also extends to the costs of necessary materials or facilities, or both, not possessed by the research organisation that are integral to the CASE studentship. Importantly, we expect CASE partners to provide co-supervision for the student’s research.

For further information, contact

Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS)

PIPS are compulsory non-academic placements for students funded by BBSRC through DTP and Doctoral Landscape awards, lasting a minimum of three months. The objective is to expose students to a variety of employment sectors, including but not limited to:

  • policymaking
  • public engagement
  • regulatory roles
  • media
  • marketing
  • teaching
  • industry

PIPS exposes students to diverse work environments beyond their academic research. This cultivates transferable skills, enhances understanding of various career paths, and contributes to personal and professional development.

Doctoral students on CASE studentships and CTP programmes spend varying periods of time on placement with their external host partner, focusing on projects directly related to their doctoral research.

See evaluation of the PIPS programme.

National Productivity Investment Fund Studentships

In 2017 and 2018, BBSRC was allotted additional studentships from the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to provide high-quality doctoral training in STEM and interdisciplinary areas aligned to the Industrial Strategy. Projects in the 2017 tranche were required to be partnerships between academic and industrial organisations and came with flexibility to address an area of the Industrial Strategy. The total number awarded was 105 studentships. The 2018 allocation came with a specific focus on the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge theme of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data-Driven Economy. This allocation totalled 31 studentships, with a minimum of 10 studentships ring-fenced for AI.

BBSRC’s Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) and Collaborative Training Partnerships (CTP) were invited to apply for an allocation of NPIF studentships via a competitive process. The allocations held by the successful NPIF grant holders are detailed below.

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships Allocations (2020-24)


University of Edinburgh (Lead), University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of St Andrews, University of Stirling, Scotland’s Rural College, IBioIC, James Hutton Institute, Moredun Research Institute, Scottish Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), Cool Farms Alliance

FoodBioSystems DTP

University of Reading (Lead), Aberystwyth University, Brunel University London, Cranfield University, Queens University Belfast, University of Surrey, EIT Food CLCNW, British Nutrition Foundation, STFC Food Network+,Diamond Light Source

London Interdisciplinary Doctoral programme (LIDo)

University College London (Lead), Birkbeck University, Kings College London, LSHTM, QMUL, Royal Holloway of London, Royal Veterinary College, University of Greenwich, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Food Standards Agency, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), Unilever

Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership

University of Warwick (Lead), University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Aston University, Harper Adams University

Newcastle Liverpool Durham

University of Liverpool (Lead), Newcastle University, Durham University, Newcastle Liverpool Durham (NLD) Dr Carolyn O’Leary University of Liverpool (Lead), Newcastle University, Durham University AHDB, AIMES, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock, Centre for Process Innovation, FERA Science Ltd, KWS UK Ltd, Proctor and Gamble, Tesco

Norwich Research Park

John Innes Centre (Lead), University of East Anglia, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Earlham Institute, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Food Standards Agency, Public Health England, IBM Research UK, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa – ILRI Hub, The Forum Trust, The SAW Trust, Agri-Tech East, Anglia Innovation Partnership, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP

University of Oxford (Lead), Oxford Brookes University, The Pirbright Institute, Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Research Complex Harwell, STFC Central Laser Facility, The Rosalind Franklin Institute, Novo Nordisk Research Oxford

South Coast Biosciences DTP

University of Southampton (Lead), University of Kent, University of Sussex, University of Portsmouth, NIAB-EMR

South West Biosciences (SWBio) DTP

University of Bristol (Lead), University of Bath, Cardiff University, University of Exeter, Rothamsted Research, University of West of England, Swansea University, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Marine Biological Association, SETsquared Bristol, UCB Pharma

The University of Manchester DTP

Manchester Science Partnership, Bionow, University of Toronto, University of Melbourne

University of Nottingham DTP

University of Nottingham (Lead), Nottingham Trent University, National Biofilm Innovation Centre, Rothamsted, Research Complex Harwell, Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, NIAB-EMR, Centre for Process Innovation, BioCity, Albumedix

White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP

University of Leeds (Lead), University of York, University of Sheffield, Research Complex Harwell, Rosalind Franklin Institute, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

BBSRC DTP National Productivity Investment Fund Studentships Allocations

East of Scotland Bioscience DTP
Imperial College London DTP
London Interdisciplinary Doctoral programme
Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership
Newcastle University DTP
Norwich Research Park
Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP
South West Biosciences DTP
University of Cambridge DTP
The University of Manchester DTP

Last updated: 29 February 2024

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