Fully funded PhD opportunities in the UK with DTA3/COFUND new programme

Bringing together the world’s best research talent


Horizon 2020 Programme


The University Alliance has launched an extended programme for international PhD fellowships part-funded by the European Union.  The University of Central Lancashire is providing doctoral level Fellowships as part of the University Alliance’s existing 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 over 80 early-stage researchers from across the globe as internationally-connected, independent researchers with interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral skills and experience, ready for industrial 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:

  • University of Brighton
  • Coventry University
  • 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 and these are in Applied Biosciences for Health, Energy and Social Policy.  Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be found on the University Alliance website.

The University of Central Lancashire projects are:


  • Enteric Nervous System dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Ultrabright drug nanocarriers for advanced theragnostics and happy aging
  • Zinc, an essential micronutrient typically deficient in the ageing population, is at the human host /microbiota interphase regulating metabolic function, immunity and pathogenesis


  • Probing electron transport and nanoscale behaviour in perovskite solar cells
  • Novel Energy Trading Models to encourage the use of Smart and Renewable Energy (SRE) Technologies project


  • Local food systems and local economic democracy: a framework for delivering food security?

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

The final deadline for application is Friday 12 April 2019.

Who can apply?

To qualify for a DTA3 opportunity, applicants must:

  • Be ‘early-stage researchers’ (i.e. in the first four years of their research careers and not have a doctoral degree);
  • 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
  • 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.
  • There are currently 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, an expert 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 and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).
  • 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

Read more about UCLan’s opportunities.

Follow @UCLanResearch for the 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.

Doctoral Training Alliance - Energy

Doctoral Training Alliance - Social Policy

Doctoral Training Alliance - Applied Biosciences for Health