Research students

Three-year fully-funded PhD opportunities in the UK

A new kind of doctoral programme for the 21st century



The University of Central Lancashire is providing doctoral level Fellowships as part of the University Alliance’s Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) following a multi-million euro award from the European Union.

The extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA3) brings together the University Alliance’s existing doctoral training initiatives in Applied Biosciences for Health, Energy and Social Policy following a €6.5million award from the European Commission, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) COFUND scheme.

DTA3 will be delivered across a consortium of 15 universities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will develop nearly 100 early-stage researchers from across the EU and beyond as internationally-connected, independent researchers with interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral skills and experience, ready for industrial or academic employment in the European and UK priority challenge areas of healthcare, clean energy and social policy.

The programme will foster transnational mobility through an extended network of international associate partners in Europe and overseas, to provide recruitment and international placements.

Early-stage researchers can apply for an interdisciplinary PhD at a DTA3 university and join the wider DTA cohort currently made up of 150 students and 300 supervisors.

The 15 universities are:

  • Coventry University
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • The Open University
  • University of Portsmouth
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • University of South Wales
  • Teesside University
  • Ulster University

How to apply?

We are offering 6 x PhD opportunities initially and these are in Applied Biosciences for Health, Energy and Social Policy. Click here for full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects.

The University of Central Lancashire projects are:


  • Epigenetic and subcellular mechanisms in a novel mouse model relevant to ageing and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Incontinence; an age-old problem?
  • Smart Biomimetic Nanomaterials for Novel Treatment and Prevention of Viral Infection
  • Zinc, an essential micronutrient typically deficient in the ageing population, is at the human host /microbiota interphase regulating metabolic function, immunity and pathogenesis


  • Novel Energy Trading Models to encourage the use of Smart and Renewable Energy (SRE) Technologies


  • Effective Policy and Practice Addressing Supply and Demand in Sex Trafficking

Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website.

The final deadline for application for the first six opportunities is Monday 8 October 2018. There will be another opportunity to apply for different DTA3 projects in the spring of 2019.

Who can apply?

  • Applicants must be ‘early-stage researchers’ (do not have a doctoral degree);
  • Applicants must not have been resident, nor carried out their main activity, in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before taking up a DTA3 opportunity
  • Applicants must not already be permanently employed by the university where the DTA3 opportunity will take place.

What is the Doctoral Training Alliance?

  • If the UK is going to compete as a knowledge economy in the 21st Century, it needs a strong research and innovation ecosystem. The Doctoral Training Alliance, developed by a group of Alliance universities, builds on our research strengths and industry-focused ethos.  The training will produce independent, highly-employable researchers with knowledge, expertise and skills in strategically-important research areas. It is the largest nationwide multi-partner initiative of its kind.
  • We are currently running three Doctoral Training Alliance programmes 1) in Applied Biosciences for Health; 2) in Energy and 3) in Social Policy.
  • Doctoral students will gain access to excellent research facilities, an expert academic support network, and improved employment opportunities.

Benefits to participants

  • Participants will benefit from the world-class facilities, supervisors and support at their home institution as well as the wider DTA community to collaborate and share expertise with.
  • DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of approximately £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will be waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events, interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s) and take industrial and/or international placements. Part-time opportunities may also be an option depending on the particular institution.
  • The programme will develop participants’ vital research skills such as critical reasoning and epistemology as well as practical innovation and entrepreneurial expertise. The programme will ensure participants are job-ready and can apply the results of their excellent research to deliver impact.

Benefits to Industry and Employers

  • The DTA is designed and delivered with industry partners to respond to their needs and provide participants with placements, knowledge-transfer and potential future employment opportunities.

For further information about the programmes and projects, eligibility, the application process and some Frequently Asked Questions please go to the University Alliance DTA3 page.

Follow UCLan Research on Twitter for latest updates.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.