Research programme grants associated studentships

Some research programme funding opportunities allow grant applicants to request funding to support an associated studentship as part of their project.

The research done through an associated studentship should be:

  • closely associated with the main research project
  • add value to the main research project
  • constitute a distinct project compared to the main research project

Applying to include an associated studentship in your project

Identify a relevant funding opportunity

Research programme funding opportunities are held throughout the year. The funding opportunity will specify if you can apply for an associated studentship as part of the overall application.

Costs for associated studentships within your application

When you apply for a research grant you should include funding to cover the associated studentship in your grant application.

If your application is successful, the stipend and fee costs will be funded at 100% and other costs provided at 80% full economic cost.

An associated studentship may be delivered as a CASE award, if there is an opportunity for a research collaboration between academic and non-academic partner organisations.

Your responsibilities for the associated studentship in your project

If you’re applying to include an associated studentship, you need to ensure that the student can benefit from a training environment which offers opportunities such as:

  • being embedded within a managed programme
  • exposure to wider research group interaction, for example at science meetings
  • transferable professional, technical, and personal development training

Your research organisation must make the same level of provision for training and supervision that would be expected for any other NERC student.

See terms and conditions for training funding for information on studentship training expectations.

How we assess the studentship application

The panel for the relevant funding opportunity will assess the appropriateness of the proposed studentship project. If the research grant application is recommended for funding, you will need to submit further information to ensure that the provision of training, supervision and delivery will be equivalent to that expected for other NERC studentships.

The associated studentship application will then be assessed under the following NERC success criteria:

  • training excellence
  • multidisciplinary training environment
  • recruiting and nurturing talent

These criteria will be assessed by members of the NERC talent and skills team.

See more information on the assessment criteria.

Recruiting and training your associated student

Enabling diversity, equity and inclusion

NERC aims to support the most talented students whatever their background and regardless of where and when they undertook their first degree. We require that diversity, equity and inclusion principles are embedded at all levels and in all aspects of studentship research and training practice.

If your associated studentship application is successful, you must follow UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) good practice principles in recruitment and training at doctoral level.

Last updated: 4 June 2024

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