PhD Fellowships

The offer

Introduction

PhD fellowships are an opportunity for an individual to carry out an extended supervised period of research and contribute to the development of the field of improvement studies.

We are seeking applications from universities who will recruit and select high-calibre students to undertake PhD student fellowships. Universities may appoint clinical and non-clinical candidates.

What we offer

The award ranges from £137,500 to £276,000 per doctoral fellowship, allowing for clinical salaries where appropriate and adjusting for the length of the fellowship (PhD or 1 + 3 model). It is expected, at a minimum, that a university will use the funding to pay for:

  • Relevant Masters / PhD fees (UK rates)
  • A stipend or salary for the PhD student
  • Research costs (e.g. conference attendance, items of small equipment, transcription costs, meeting costs, and expenses for service-user participants)
  • Dissemination and publication costs, including at least one open-access publication

We offer membership of THIS Institute’s Community of Scholars and access to a mentoring scheme at no cost to fellows.

What we don’t offer

We don’t provide funds for estates, directly allocated or indirect costs.

Selection criteria

Who can apply

Any UK university may apply to the scheme, with a maximum of two doctoral fellowship applications per university per funding round. Where more than one department is applying, each of the two departments must submit a separate application.

The fellowships may include a Masters course to provide relevant research training before commencing a PhD (1+3 model). Universities will be responsible for recruitment and should propose up to three projects in the area of improvement research to provide a choice to prospective PhD students.

The PhD fellowships are intended to be held full-time but part-time applications may be considered by universities, for example, where applicants are undergoing clinical training or other circumstances apply.

We do not accept direct applications from individual students wishing to pursue a PhD. We cannot accept queries from individuals wishing to pursue PhD studies at the University of Cambridge.

What we’re looking for

The selection criteria includes:

University criteria

  • Centre of academic excellence with a strong record of research and career development for researchers
  • Extent to which the institution is undertaking multidisciplinary research that will inform the development of theory, methods and application relevant to improvement studies
  • Quality of environment, including facilities, collaborative networks, and ability to work productively with the NHS
  • Suitable training programmes to support the skills and expertise needed to successfully complete the PhD research

Project proposal criteria

  • Specified appropriately to be completed through a PhD study
  • Relevant to improving quality and/or safety in the NHS
  • Synergistic with ongoing research programmes in the university
  • Demonstrates appropriate study design and research methods
  • Describes an area in which the supervisor has content expertise
  • Feasible within a doctoral programme where the student might need to gain approvals and undergo training
  • Likely to make a valuable contribution to the field of improvement research

Application stages

How to apply

All applications must be submitted via our Fellowship Management System. All applications should be submitted by an administrative authority/finance office in the applying university.

Stages of applications

1. Before you apply

We encourage you to check that your application is eligible and competitive by reading the guidance for applicants and frequently asked questions.

2. Submit your application

All applications must be submitted online through the Fellowship Management System.

3. Review and shortlisting

Applications will be measured against the selection criteria included in the guidance for applicants. Shortlisted applications will be sent for external peer review.

4. Final decision

Successful universities will be responsible for the recruitment and selection of high-calibre students to undertake the PhDs. They will manage their research and development and administer course fees, stipends and other financial aspects of the award.

Dates

Our next PhD competition will open in 2019.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my university need to have a lead department in the application?

No. The university does not need to have a lead department. A maximum of two departments per university can apply. Each department can complete an application independently, using different user accounts on the system. Each department can propose up to three projects. The university should coordinate the bid to ensure that no more than two departments apply.

Could each department apply for two fellowships?

Yes, but we will only award a maximum of two fellowships per university, not per department. Each applying department should complete a single application form.

We work within a multidisciplinary group. Should we apply from one of the departments within the group or use our multidisciplinary group as the department?

You are welcome to use the multidisciplinary group as the department name, as long as you are applying from the host university. We welcome multidisciplinary applications.

Why should we propose up to three projects?

We are keen to encourage a breadth of project options for potential PhD students. However, we know that this may not always be possible. It is not compulsory to include three projects. You may simply include one project and will not be disadvantaged in any way.

If the project is multidisciplinary, which department should apply?

It does not matter which department applies if the application is multidisciplinary. We suggest that the most relevant department is chosen, or if in doubt, the one with the most time and resource to complete a high quality application. Please do provide details of the multidisciplinary nature of the proposed project within the application form to ensure the details are evident during the review process.

Could a supervisory team be based across different institutions?

Yes, we encourage this type of collaboration.

Is it possible for my university to apply for fellowships at multiple levels (PhD, post-doctoral and senior fellowships)?

Yes, the same university can apply for multiple levels of fellowship. Please see the guidance for applicants.

Will THIS Institute set the value of the stipend for the fellow?

No. While we recommend offering a minimum stipend of £17,500 per annum for a non-clinical PhD student (Research Councils recommendation), each university is free to decide the value of the PhD stipend.

Do we allow any costs for the supervisors within the fellowship (e.g. 20% FTE)?

No. Only direct costs relating to the PhD student can be included in the application.