Large grant associated studentships

Large grants support adventurous, large-scale and complex research tackling big science questions that cannot be addressed through other Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funding opportunities.

While these studentships provide individuals with specialist and general skills that are valuable both to our community and the UK economy more generally, the award is not based on the delivery of particular specialist skills (such as to meet a specific skills gap or need).

Find out more about NERC large grants you can apply for.

Applying for a large grant associated studentship

A large grant associated studentship should be a distinct project which adds value to a research large grant. The main research grant should still be viable without the studentship and should have distinct objectives that are not reliant on the studentship.

The student is expected to be able to develop new research ideas while benefiting from working in a unique training environment affording opportunities such as:

  • being embedded within a managed programme
  • exposure to wider research group interaction, for example at science meetings.

As part of the main application for the NERC large grants funding opportunity, applicants can request an associated studentship for their proposal.

NERC will not accept proposals where a student is the only dedicated researcher or staff member on a grant, including individual component grants of joint proposals.

Funding can be included in large grant applications to support associated studentships.

The research undertaken through a project studentship should be closely associated with the work carried out in the grant but still constitute a distinct project.

Large grant associated studentships must receive the same level of provision of training and supervision that would be expected for any other NERC research student.

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

Assessment process for large grant associated studentships

To ensure that large grant associated studentships meet these training expectations, all large grant associated studentship applications will be assessed under the following NERC success criteria:

  • research excellence
  • training excellence
  • multidisciplinary training environment
  • ability to attract excellent students.

Research excellence of associated studentships will be reviewed at the moderating panel. Training excellence, multidisciplinary training environment and the ability to attract excellent students will be assessed by members of our talent and skills team.

See more information on the assessment criteria:

Available funding

Funding for large grant associated studentships is included in a large grant application and, if successful, stipend and fees costs will be funded at 100% and other costs provided at 80% FEC.

You may hold a project studentship as a CASE award.


The eligibility criteria for research organisations intending to apply for a large grant and requesting an associated studentship are included in the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook.

Last updated: 28 June 2022

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