The 2024 call for applications is now CLOSED - with the exception of one industry co-funded studentship

NEW industry co-funded studentship starting October 2024  

Project No. 2490| Title:  Novel microbes for novel solutions: Bioprospecting for properties with uses in many sectors| Supervisory Team: Prof Vladimir Jiranek (University of Southampton) and Dr Renaud Toussaint (Lesaffre International)Location: at the University of Southampton

Links to application in Step 4

SocoBio DTP provides PhD students with a unique opportunity to undertake bioscience research and training in the following themes:

Understanding the rules of life

(up to 11 scholarships available)

Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food

(up to 5 scholarships available)

Bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth

(up to 8 scholarships available)

Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health

(up to 2 scholarships available)

A substantial proportion of our studentships are co-funded by industry or include an industry partner through a CASE award.

View research themes

Application Procedure

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying

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Step 1: What’s on Offer

Candidates can choose to join the programme via either the DTP route of entry or directly to an Industry Co-funded Project or apply to both.

Standard and CASE DTP studentships

This four-year programme comprises two laboratory ‘rotations’ in the first year, followed a project jointly supervised by researchers from two of the host institutions or with industry in years 2-4. Students normally take a three month industrial placement, and all students will receive training in Data-Management & Computational Biology, Industrial Biotechnology, Science Communication, and Business and Entrepreneurship plus optional Masters Level Modules.

Industry Co-funded studentships

Students joining an industry co-funded studentship do not undertake rotations in their first year and instead begin directly on their named industrial collaborative project from the start of the programme. During the 4-years of study industry co-funded studentship students will spend between 3-18 months on placement with their industry partner.

Step 2: Requirements for Applicants


Candidates should have a BSc/MSci 2:1 and/or Masters (MSc or MRes) at Merit/Distinction level (>60%) and/or evidence of significant relevant professional experience equivalent to Masters level.

SoCoBio welcomes applications from candidates with sustained experience beyond their undergraduate degree level that is specifically relevant to biosciences research. This includes students with degrees in science or engineering-disciplines outside of biology.

English Language Proficiency

At time of application, all students whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written language skills are adequate for the doctoral study – normally an IELTS qualification with a minimum score of 6.5 in all sections, or proof of a previous degree taught in English, or substantial work experience in the UK.

Evidence may be one of the following and must be submitted to the DTP before interview:

  • Work or educational experience in English (within 2 years of starting the programme)
  • English Language qualification.

Step 3: Funding

SoCoBio DTP offers UKRI-funded studentships which include tuition fees at the UK rate plus a tax-free maintenance stipend to support living costs, and an annual Research Training Support Grant (RTSG).

SoCoBio DTP welcomes international applicants and will fund full overseas fees but the number of international studentships awarded per cohort is capped by UKRI at 30% per cohort.

SoCoBio DTP accept applications from international students with independently sourced bursaries to cover the difference between home and overseas fee rates.

The SoCoBio DTP does not fund travel costs to the UK, student VISA application fees and associated costs (for example immigration healthcare surcharge) for international students awarded a studentship.

Further information on eligibility for international students can be found on the UKRI website: International Eligibility Guidance

Step 4: How do I apply?

Applications to studentships starting in October 2024 has now CLOSED, except for one Industry-Co-funded studentship (see below for details)

Visit the Projects page to view our 2024 projects for consideration by applicants. Use the ‘Filter Projects‘ drop-down menu and select ‘2024 cohort‘ and filter projects by selecting studentship type and theme(s).

**Projects are categorised as PRIORTY or STANDARD projects**

Priority projects are projects that address key training areas for our DTP and we are especially keen to recruit students to these projects.**

Students can apply for both Standard/CASE studentships or Industry co-funded studentships. Follow the application procedure for both below:

Application Procedure for DTP route of entry (Standard and CASE studentships)

Step 1: Complete the University of Southampton online application by following this link first (link will be live when the application window opens in October 2024).

Important: wait for conformation of your University of Southampton application ID number (8-digits) before proceeding to step 2

If applying to an industry co-funded studentship use the link under – ‘Application Procedure for Industry co-funded studentships’

University of Southampton Online Application 

Application guidance: 

  1. Leave topic or field of research and name of proposed supervisor blank, funding is from SoCoBio DTP.
  2. Prepare one personal statement using the guidance document listed under useful links and add to both the University of Southampton application (step 1), and the SoCoBio Funding application (step 2).
  3. Beware it can take 48hrs or longer to receive your application  ID number after submitting your online application therefore allow time for this when making an application to the DTP – both applications need to be received before the deadline. Late and incomplete applications cannot be considered

Step 2: Complete the SoCoBio DTP application by following this link (link will be live when the application window opens in October 2024).

SoCoBio Funding Online Application

Important: read the SoCoBio Funding Application Guidance Notes before completing this application.

Your application cannot receive consideration until you have completed both applications and provide all supporting documents as follows:

  1. Evidence of prior academic qualifications – these will be certificates or transcripts to show that you meet or expect to meet the entry requirements.
  2. Evidence of your English proficiency if English is not your first language.
  3. Two references with at least one being an academic reference.

Application Procedure for Industry co-funded studentships (Deadlines specific to these projects are shown below)

Step 1: Complete the DTP Partner online application using the links below. 

Applications are CLOSED to this Project at the University of Portsmouth: Investigation into the factors affecting biofilm formation on natural and synthetic dental materials.

Applications are CLOSED to this Project at the University of Portsmouth: Development and evolution of diverse corona structures in Narcissus (Amaryllidaceae)

Applications are CLOSED to this Project at the University of Sussex: Development of LA1011 for high affinity binding to Hsp90 for use towards healthy ageing in patients showing Alzheimer’s symptoms

NEW project at the University of Southampton – Applications OPEN to HOME students ONLY: Novel microbes for novel solutions: Bioprospecting for properties with uses in many sectors

Deadline for applications Monday 8th July 2024, click this link to  Make an application

Application Help

Writing your personal statement guidance

Frequently Asked Questions

Attend an online Application Q&A session on Wednesday 13 December 2023 or Wednesday 3rd January 2024 at 11AM GMT

Register for an online application Q&A session 

Use the contact page on the website to contact the DTP if you have any questions about the application process.

How will applications be assessed

For DTP route of entry (Standard and CASE studentships) the SoCoBio Recruitment Committee will shortlist candidates according to the following criteria:

  1. Academic performance – as demonstrated by your qualifications and/or research or work/professional experience.
  2. Fit to programme – as demonstrated by your research interests and your motivation and commitment to doctoral research with SoCoBio DTP, explained in your personal statement.

For industry co-funded studentship applications, the supervisory team will shortlist candidates for interview to the criteria above.

Equality diversity and inclusion monitoring questions:

All sensitive data within your application will be anonymised and used for reporting purposes only. All sensitive personal data will be held securely, separately and in confidence, and used in accordance with the Data Policies of the partner institutions. This information will not be accessible to the SoCoBio Recruitment Committee during the selection process. Applications are particularly welcomed from candidates with protected characteristics – e.g. from black and minority ethnic groups – who are under-represented in postgraduate research at our Institutions. We also welcome candidates who would wish to consider pursuing a PhD part-time. We can offer support to students with additional responsibilities to enable them to pursue their PhD equitably. Students with a disability will be eligible to receive additional funding via the Disabled Student Allowance.

Step 5: Interviews

Standard DTP Studentships

Interviews will take place on Thursday 15th February 2024 and Friday 16th February 2024 by video call. Candidates will be notified by (or shortly after) 31 January 2024 if they have been selected for interview.

Industry co-funded studentship

Interviews will be carried out by the project Supervisory Team with representation from the DTP Management Team.

Step 6: Offers

We will make informal offers shortly after interview. The offer will confirm first rotation projects which will be selected from student’s top three project preferences identified on their application (DTP entry route standard and CASE studentships only). For projects located at a partner institution (i.e. not the University of Southampton) students will be asked to complete a formal application to that institution. Finally, formal offer/funding letters will be sent to students from their project’s host institution.

PhD's and future careers

" There are things I’ve been interested in learning before my PhD, but I’d never had the opportunity or a problem to solve that would allow me to learn them. By keeping an eye out during your PhD for opportunities to learn new skills you can quite often take it in a direction that will allow you to broaden your skill set in the way that you want. "

If you have a question about the programme or its application procedure please contact the DTP Manager using the contact page.

A message from the SoCoBio DTP EDI Champion

Find out more

The DTP is committed to inclusivity, and strongly encourages applicants from all backgrounds and regardless of their personal circumstances.