Flexibility to support the very best students


For the majority of EPSRC funding for doctoral training, the eligibility requirements in the terms and conditions of training grants apply. EPSRC has provided some, limited, flexibility regarding these eligibility requirements, to attract the very best international students to train with leading research teams in the UK, to increase our global presence and influence.

EPSRC allows universities to offer up to 10% of the new studentships in any one year with open eligibility to support the very best students. There is typically strong competition within universities to make use of this flexibility. If you want to apply for a doctoral studentship and want to know whether the flexibility might be available for you, you must contact the university that is advertising the studentship. There is no route for prospective students to apply to EPSRC for a studentship.

The flexibility regarding eligibility for up to 10% of the new students starting in any one year will apply to the following EPSRC training grants: Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP); Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT), and Industrial CASE awards (ICASE).

Please note that CDTs have been advised separately about flexibility regarding “CDT Incorporated Studentships”. The following framework for implementation does not apply to Incorporated Studentships.

Framework for Implementation

The flexibility is to assist Research Organisations in attracting, recruiting and training the very best students wherever they are from. As the 10% maximum threshold is determined at the organisational level, a strategy for making use of this flexibility will need to be developed and managed across the research organisation.

Research Organisations may take into account a range of factors, including:

  • The excellence of the candidate
  • Whether the subject area for the doctoral project is a priority area
  • Areas of recruitment difficulty

The framework for implementation is:

  • The eligibility requirements outlined in the terms and conditions of training grants apply for at least 90% of the EPSRC-funded students.
  • The flexibility for up to 10% should be used to support only the very best prospective students.
  • Research Organisations may only draw UK/EU level fees from the training grant and a student must not be expected to bear the cost of any shortfall in funding. No additional (international) fees will be allowed in relation to these students.
  • Students supported through this route must receive a full award (stipend and fees) from the respective DTP / CDT /ICASE funding mechanism (both fees at the UK level and stipend are charged to the relevant training grant).
  • Up to 10% of the total student starts reported by the institution each year can be supported through this route. The maximum applies to EPSRC-funded students starting in an academic year, whether the funding is drawn from a DTP, CDT or ICASE. Although, please note that “CDT Incorporated Students” are outwith this framework.
  • To ensure effective monitoring, the institution will be required to identify and report these individuals back to EPSRC through the Je-S Student Details as ‘International Doctoral Scholars (IDS) Grant’ by selecting:
    • Council: ‘EPSRC
    • Document type: ‘Studentship Details’
    • Scheme: ’EPSRC International Doctoral Scholars- (IDS) Grant.’
  • The relevant DTG / CDT / ICASE training grant must be linked to the student record. The guidance available in Je-S system and from the Je-S helpdesk provides further information. ICASE Voucher Numbers: Please note that if you select the Scheme (Category) “EPSRC International Doctoral Scholars - IDS Grant”, you are not required to indicate the Voucher Number within the Studentship Details document.
  • Research Organisations will be responsible for identifying and ensuring the best students are recruited; and for self-regulation with respect of the 10% threshold. Although, please note that EPSRC will also monitor the use of this flexibility.
  • Costs will be reconciled against DTP / CDT / ICASE grants as normal.