Research Council Studentships | University of Oxford
Biochemistry flasks
Flasks in the laboratory
(Image Credit: Greta Pintacuda / Graduate Photography Competition)

Research Council Studentships

The seven UK Research Councils are publicly funded bodies that support research and studentships across a range of subject areas. High numbers of awards are received by our graduates in recognition of the quality of the world-class research carried out at Oxford. Some colleges also provide partnership awards linked to Research Council awards, details of which are available under College Partnership Awards.

Research Councils offer full scholarships (covering fees and living expenses) to UK nationals and to EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. EU nationals who do not meet the residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. A small number of overseas applicants can also be supported by some Research Councils.

For full details about eligibility requirements and how to apply, please see links to the relevant departments below.

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Please note that a new website and communication channels are currently under development; therefore, these links are likely to change within the next few months. 

The AHRC provides public funding in support of research into the arts and humanities, for approximately one quarter of the UK's research population. Oxford hosts an AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, providing a number of scholarships each year across the Humanities Division. Information about applying for AHRC scholarships at Oxford can currently be found on the Humanities Division web pages and questions about AHRC funding should also be sent to the division's AHRC mailbox.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The BBSRC supports the UK's world-leading position in bioscience. It aims to promote and support high quality basic, strategic and applied research and postgraduate training relating to the understanding and exploitation of biological systems. BBSRC studentship funding, including Industrial CASE studentship funding, is awarded primarily through the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership. Questions about BBSRC funding should be directed to the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. Opportunities for EPSRC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about EPSRC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Please note that the university is currently in the process of bidding for an ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), the outcome of which is not yet known. The information below will be updated by the end of August 2016.

The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. The University is an ESRC accredited Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) and part of a national network of 21 centres of excellence in research training. Information about ESRC scholarships at Oxford can be found on the Social Sciences Division pages and further information about the Oxford DTC can be found on the DTC page. Questions about ESRC funding should be referred to the relevant department; contact details can be found via the Departments A-Z page. In general, candidates are normally automatically considered for ESRC studentships, however you are advised to check with the admitting department as to whether or not there are any additional steps that need to be taken in order to be considered.

Medical Research Council (MRC)

The MRC promotes research into all areas of medical and related science with the aims of improving the health and quality of life of the UK public and contributing to the wealth of the nation. The University of Oxford receives a Doctoral Training Partnership Grant from the MRC from which studentships are created and awarded. There is no separate application process for these MRC awards at Oxford. All applicants that apply to Departments by the January deadline (6 January 2017) are automatically considered and nominated for MRC funding by their Departments if they are eligible. For further information, and if you have any questions about the process, please see the Medical Sciences Graduate School pages.

In addition, the University bids in MRC competitions for Industrial CASE Awards and Capacity Building Studentships and certain MRC-funded units and centres receive a direct allocation of MRC Studentships. Usually, all eligible applicants that apply by the January deadline (6 January 2017) are automatically considered for these awards. In some cases, however, they are advertised separately by individual departments.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Their work covers the full range of atmospheric, earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science. Opportunities for NERC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about NERC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

The STFC support, promote and coordinate research into spheres ranging from particle and nuclear physics to space, laser and materials science. Opportunities for STFC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about STFC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.

What is a Research Council college partnership award?

Research Council college partnership awards are fully-funded Research Council scholarships which are partially funded by a college. All UK Research Councils allow graduate studentship funding to be partnered with other sources of funding, thereby allowing universities to increase the number of studentships available. The college partnership awards are only tenable at the college providing the funding.

How are Research Council college partnership awards allocated?

There is no separate application process for college partnership awards; all eligible graduate candidates who apply for and are awarded a Research Council studentship will be considered. We may move your application to a college offering a partnership award, even if this is not your preferred college (for applicants who have stated a preference on the graduate application form).