What is a studentship?
PhD studentship awards embed the 3Rs in the training of graduate scientists from a broad range of scientific backgrounds. Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines or include an industrial partner are particularly encouraged. This competition is run annually with up to twelve awards, with a value of £30k (non-FEC) per annum for three years, available each year. The budget for the 2017 call is £1.08 million.
This year, up to three additional joint awards are available with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), with a value of £30k (non-FEC) per annum for three years. Applications for the NC3Rs-BHF awards should seek to obtain 3Rs impact in the field of cardiovascular research. These awards are subject to joint NC3Rs-BHF terms and conditions. Further information on joint awards made in previous years can be found within 'Our Science' pages.
Panel meeting outcome reports and award rates for previous calls can be found here.
Please note - the outline and supporting information application forms, and associated guidance, were updated in February 2017. Please ensure that the correct form is used at both outline and full application stage.
Highlight notice for applications involving the use of human tissue:
The NC3Rs recognises that the use of human tissue is essential for better understanding human health and disease, and to reduce the reliance on animal models in basic and biomedical research. As such we welcome applications involving the use of human tissue to the 2017 call for applications.
Highlight notices do not have a separate budget and applications submitted under highlight notices are considered in competition with the other applications received; however strategic relevance to the highlight will be one of the assessment criteria taken into consideration during the review process.
Potential applicants are advised to contact the NC3Rs funding team before submitting an application under this highlight notice. Further information on accessing human tissue is available on our ‘Increasing the use of human tissue’ web resource.
Applicants should read the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook which contains more detailed information on the application process.
Prospective PhD Students
We do not fund students directly. Studentship vacancies arising from our 2016 awards are advertised by the relevant research institutions and on our website.
|19 May 2017, 4pm||Deadline for outline submission to NC3Rs Office|
|31 May 2017||Application form available on Je-S|
|12 July 2017, 4pm||Full application deadline on Je-S|
|Start of October 2017*||Inform applicants of outcome following Triage*|
|October 2017||Studentship Assessment Panel meeting|
|End of October 2017||Applicants informed of outcome|
|Any time after issue of Award letter||Expected studentship start date|
|1 October 2018||Latest date for commencing studentships|
*Occurrence of this stage is determined by the volume of applications received each year.
Please sign up to the NC3Rs newsletter for updates on funding schemes.
Supervisors from any UK research establishment including:
The research organisation is responsible for finding students and the administration of each studentship during the award.
Industrial and overseas researchers
Industrial and overseas researchers cannot be primary Investigators but can be included as collaborators or project partners.
The NC3Rs does not allow resubmission of previously unsuccessful proposals, unless explicitly invited by the Panel. Proposals previously declined by the NC3Rs will not be considered by another Research Council or funder within 12 months (from the date of submission to the original Research Council) unless substantially revised. More information can be found in the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook.
Please note: The same or similar application cannot be considered by any other Research Council, the Health Departments or any other research funder at the same time.
Applicants are advised to read and refer to the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook, particularly Section 4.4 Studentship Scheme – Application Guidance, which contains more detailed information on submitting both an outline and full application. Applicants should also take note of the 'Considerations at informal outline stage' and 'Studentship panel scoring criteria' when compiling an application.
Please note: the outline and supporting information application forms, and associated guidance, were updated in February 2017. Please ensure that the correct form is used at both outline and full application stage.
Outlines and full applications received after 4pm on the deadline date will not be considered, without exception.
Before submitting a full application applicants are required to complete an outline of the research proposal (see Related Documents below). A letter of support from the Head of Department and the main Supervisor's CV (to include supervisory experience and not to exceed three sides of A4) are also required.
Please email the below to firstname.lastname@example.org before 4pm, 19 May 2017:
- Completed outline form - 2017 version
- Head of Department letter of support
- Main supervisor's CV
Submitting a full application
We use the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK Shared Business Services.
Additional documents to upload as part of the Je-S application:
- NC3Rs Studentship Supporting Information Form 2017 (compulsory)
- Animal research questions in Annex 1 (if applicable)
Invited, full proposals must be submitted via Je-S. Applicants submitting under the highlight notice, should note this within their outline form and, if invited, the ‘Objectives’ and the ‘Case for Support’ sections of their full applications.
If you experience difficulties using Je-S or have questions regarding its use, contact the Je-S helpdesk.
Email: JeSHelp@rcuk.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0) 1793 44 4164
Applications are assessed by the Studentship Assessment Panel. The following criteria are taken into consideration when making funding decisions:
- Potential impact on the 3Rs
- Quality of the proposed project
- Expertise and track record of the Supervisor
- The training / research environment
- Strategic relevance to the highlight notice (where appropriate)
In recent years, due to a high volume of applications received, a triage process has taken place prior to the Panel meeting. Applications are reviewed by the Panel to eliminate those which are not competitive. Only short-listed applications are then considered at the Panel meeting.
Please note the Studentship Panel Scoring Criteria and Guidance below.
- NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook
- MRC Guidance for Applicants and Award Holders
- Notes and FAQs
- Studentship application - common errors