Boost your career prospects
Why undertake the BBSRC DTP PhD?
Our fully-funded studentships enable you to undertake a four-year BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) project in the biological, biomedical, mathematical and physical sciences.
The programme focuses on interdisciplinary training, new ways of working and developing niche skills. You will:
- Get cross-disciplinary experience and training through project rotations early in the programme.
- Go on a three-month placement in an area unrelated to your project to learn about different careers and improve your employability.
- Be given the opportunity to spend two years at an overseas partner institution (Dual Award) or complete a research placement in industry of up to 12 months.
- Access bespoke graduate skills training, in-house systems biology maths training and the BBSRC's SysMic programme.
- Have the opportunity to take up CASE studentships offering enhanced training with an industrial partner, which are also available as part of the BBSRC DTP.
Explore your interests
The programme structure will be tailored to your own background and training needs, as well as the nature of your research project.
All BBSRC DTP projects are designed to provide multidisciplinary challenges for postgraduate researchers with backgrounds including bioscience, biomedical, mathematical and physical sciences. Your PhD thesis must be submitted within four years of starting the programme.
Professional internship placements
In Year 2 or 3, you will be required to undertake a three-month professional internship placement (PIP) in an area independent of your research project. This will help you to learn about different career pathways and postgraduate employability - for example business, industry, education, health, policy and the media.
Benefits of the placements include:
- having the opportunity to explore and develop career options and aspirations;
- gaining transferable skills;
- being able to enhance your CV;
- exploring the wider context and impact of your research area;
- establishing links with potential future employers.
We have a dedicated PIPS academic lead and administrator who will help guide you in selecting the most fulfilling placement during your PhD.
Comprehensive skills development
Our graduate skills training programme is designed to provide research and transferable skills linked to academic progression, personal development and career aspirations.
You will spend time in the labs of the supervisory team undertaking training via formal rotations, enabling you to gain valuable skills and techniques to complete your project.
We also provide in-house training in mathematical methods and analysis, as well as the opportunity to undertake an online programme developed by the BBSRC to enhance your systems biology knowledge and expertise (SysMic).
Additional training will be made available in subject-specific areas such as:
- bioinformatics and next generation -omics;
- analytical chemistry and bioprocessing;
- systematics and evolutionary biology;
- in vivo skills.
You will receive training in intensive interdisciplinary research and core biosciences technical skills through rotation training projects. You will complete maths and project management training to equip you with skills beneficial to the completion of your programme.
You will also receive training and information about the Professional internship for PhD Students (PIPS), which is a 3-month placement in a setting unrelated to your PhD during your first year, exclusive to our BBSRC DTP cohort.
You will present a poster at the DTP symposium and attend a residential workshop during the summer.
Your research project will be the predominant focus from Year 2, and there is a continued complementary programme of training specifically tailored for DTP PGRs, which has the added benefit of keeping you in touch with your DTP cohort.
This includes Business Engagement, Entrepreneurship and training in Academic Writing. You will complete your PIP during Year 2.
You will focus on thesis preparation and submission, and preparation for employment, whether your interests lie inside or outside of academia.
You will have an informal writing-up meeting with your DTP Cohort Tutor mid-way through year to ensure that you are on track to submit within 4 years.
Gain industry experience
CASE studentships are linked with an industrial partner and offer enhanced training specific to the project.
We have a number of CASE studentships available each year that form part of the Manchester BBSRC DTP.
CASE postgraduate researchers are not required to undertake the formal lab rotations or PIPS, as they will spend time at the associated company during their programme.
Making an application
Apply for the BBSRC DTP
If you wish to be considered for a BBSRC DTP studentship and/or CASE studentship and meet our eligibility criteria, you must complete a single online application.
Please follow the information and step-by-step guide on our main How to apply page.
Specific details for this programme are noted below.
You must make one separate application for this programme (select BBSRC DTP on the online application form). If you select the incorrect programme your application cannot be considered.
Applicants can select up to two projects on one single application, noting the title of each project from the advert and the supervisor name.
Due to the competitive nature of this programme, we ask that all interested applicants make direct contact with preferred supervisors before applying online. Our experience shows how important the applicant-supervisor relationship is and we encourage you to make contact directly; supervisors will then arrange informal discussions. You should follow this up with a formal online application once you have decided on your preferred project/supervisor.
If you need help with this stage of the process, or have any queries regarding your eligibility (such as if you achieved unexpectedly low degree results due to extenuating circumstances), please contact the Doctoral Admissions team for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the funding sources section on the online application form:
- Select 'Yes' from the drop-down
- Type of Funding: 'Research Council'
- Awarding Body: BBSRC DTP Studentship
- Status of Funding – Awarded
- Funding Covers – Fully Funded
- Leave the remaining boxes blank
Application deadline: 19 January 2024 (midnight)
Other application information
Applications must be submitted by the deadline, as late applications will not be considered.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- Application deadline: 19 January 2024 (midnight)
- Interviews: w/c 4 March 2024
We welcome applications from all backgrounds and seek to create equality of opportunity for all our applicants and postgraduate researchers. See our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion statement.
Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science, engineering or technology. Applicants for dual award projects must meet the entry requirements of both The University of Manchester and The University of Melbourne. See The University of Melbourne admissions criteria.
These studentships are available to UK nationals and provide funding for tuition fees and stipend at the UKRI rate, subject to eligibility, for four years.
For full details on eligibility, including qualifications and residence criteria, visit the UKRI website.
This scheme is open to both UK and international applicants. We are only able to offer a limited number of full studentships to applicants outside the UK. Therefore, full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality international candidates due to the competitive nature of this scheme, following interview days.
International applicants must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English language) before applying. English language requirements can be found on the How to apply page.
We will contact you directly if we wish to invite you to one of our interview days following supervisor nominations.
If you are invited to one of our interview days, you will be notified directly by email. Interviews take place via Zoom and the BBSRC DTP Recruitment Committee will assess applicants based on CV, academic record and references.
Interview panels will consist of up to three academic staff from across the University. You will be required to give a short presentation (not exceeding 10 minutes) outlining any research experience you may have (e.g. an undergraduate project) or on the BBSRC DTP project you are interested in. Presentations can be made in PowerPoint format or verbally.
If you are not nominated by a supervisor for a panel interview, we will notify you directly that your application is unsuccessful.
Postgraduate researcher support
Enabling your development as a researcher
You will be assigned a cohort tutor who will be responsible for your academic support and development throughout the programme.
Our postgraduate researcher reps also work with other postgraduate researchers and staff to ensure a well-balanced and satisfying DTP experience. Postgraduate researcher reps organise non-academic socials every few months, as well as an annual residential and DTP Conference.
This conference gives postgraduate researchers an opportunity to showcase their work by either presenting a poster or giving a talk, with prizes awarded for the best postgraduate researchers.
We also hold a PIPs networking event, where recruiting companies can showcase the placements on offer, and postgraduate researchers who have completed a placement can share their experiences for the benefit of other postgraduate researchers who are planning their placements.
You will also have the opportunity to meet potential future employers at the BBSRC DTP Careers Event.
Undergraduate summer placements
Try out a research project
We offer research placements within the BBSRC DTP to undergraduate students from across the UK.
The placements are an excellent way to experience research activity and determine your suitability and aptitude for further research.
The placements are funded and last for up to 10 weeks.
Have any questions? Get in touch.
For queries regarding the application process, the projects on offer or your eligibility, please contact the Doctoral Academy.
You may wish to contact supervisors directly about projects. You can find the name of the supervisor on each project, and their contact details in the University’s online directory.