SoCoBio BBSRC doctoral training partnership scholarships (2022)

The University of Sussex is a member of the SoCoBio Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC). Successful applicants follow a four-year research skills training programme and will have their UK PhD tuition fees and living allowance (currently £15,609 for 2021-22) covered for the four years. They will also have access to further funds for research expenses. They will benefit from laboratory rotations in year one, a placement, taught modules in entrepreneurship and data management and from Socobio summer schools and conferences.

What you get

PhD studentships cover four years of UK or International PhD fees and a tax free maintenance allowance (currently £15,609) plus some research costs.

The consortium is able to offer a small number of fee waivers covering international fees.

Type of award

PhD scholarship

PhD project

You will have supervisors from at least 2 SoCoBio partner instiutions and will follow the 4 year SoCoBio training programme with taught modules and two laboratory rotations in year one.

You apply to the SoCoBio programme rather than to a specific project, although you can express an interest in a particular theme or project.  There is a choice of 3 types of projects - standard projects, CASE studentships (with involvement from a non-academic partner) and industry co-funded studentships (with substantial investment from the non-academic partner).

If you are accepted onto the programme, you will be matched with your project from the start if you are awarded an industry co-funded scholarship .  However, most students will select two four-month laboratory rotations and will register at the host of their first rotation. Their second rotation can be at the same or at different host and towards the end of this second rotation, you will decide on your PhD project and supervisor.

All the projects offering laboratory rotations are listed on the SoCoBio website.

The advertised projects led by Sussex supervisors are:


Dr Alexandros Bousios Examining the impact of transposable elements in rice domestication from a population genetics perspective
Dr Leandro Castellano MicroRNA-based single-cell CRISPR screens to discover microRNA-mRNA networks involved in carboplatin resistance in ovarian and lung cancer 
Prof  Adam Eyre-Walker How much of the human genome is functional?
Prof Sarah Guthrie Alpha2-chimaerin signalling in motor neuron development and axon guidance
Dr Helfrid Hochegger Mining cancer gene dependencies with machine learning algorithms to identify and validate novel cell cycle regulators.
Dr Eisuke Koya Unraveling the brain mechanisms behind how cognitive and physical stimulation dampens food cravings and food consumption in mice
Prof Leon Lagnado Integration of visual and modulatory inputs in the early visual system
Dr Erika Mancini Uncovering the structural and molecular mechanism of CBTF, a key regulatory transcription factor during early embryonic development
Prof Miguel Maravall All-optical analysis of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex using a novel imaging configuration
Dr Alexa Morcom Multimodal imaging of selective recollection in youth and ageing
Prof Sarah Newbury Manipulating the molecular features of long non-coding RNAs to regulate gene expression in an industrial context.
Dr Frances Pearl Using AI and big data to identify a set of biologically validated drug targets for hard-to-treat cancers. 
Dr Cristina Pubill-Ulldemolin Assessing impact of leptin peptides and analogues on tau aggregation and toxicity: towards novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease
Prof Kevin Staras What goes wrong in Alzheimer’s disease? Elucidating pathology-driven synaptic signalling defects in brain circuits.
Prof Michelle West Viral variants: assessing the impact of natural strain variation on the structure and function of virus replication and transcription factors  
Prof Martin Yeomans Learned changes in odour experience: a neural, genetic and behavioural analysis


SoCoBio studentships are open to UK and Overseas students according to the latest UKRI student eligibility rules.  Up to 30% of each cohort of students may be Overseas students,so the consortium can offer a small number of international fee waivers. 

The Admissions team will check you application in detail but in general you count as a UK student if you are :

  • a UK national who has been living in the UK or EU for the three years prior to starting your course;
  • an EU national with Settled Status;
  • an EU national with Pre-Settled status who has been living in the UK or the EU for 3 years prior to starting your course;
  • a student with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK;
  • an Irish National (due to a reciprocal agreement with the UK)

All other students (e.g. EU nationals moving to the UK to start their PhD) will count as Overseas students.



Number of scholarships available

Up to 27 scholarships are available across the consortium.


10 January 2022 23:59

How to apply

The SoCoBio studentship competition  open is now open for applications with a Jan 10th 2022 deadline.

Further information about applications and about the SoCoBio progamme is available on the SoCoBio website

Although you express an interest in a research theme, you apply to the 4 year programme rather than to a specific project and all applications are submitted on the Southampton application system. If you are accepted onto the programme, you will select two four-month laboratory rotations and will register at the host of your first rotation.

Candidates will be invited to interview and have an opportunity to visit all partner institutions, however due to the current pandemic interviews may be online video interviews instead of in person and visits to partners might not be possible. A decision will be made nearer the time.

Standard DTP Studentships

Interviews will take place inFebruary 2022 at the University of Southampton with an interview panel of academics from across the DTP partners. Candidates will be notified by the end of January if they have been selected for interview. Students will have the opportunity to visit all partner institutions prior to interview, with the exception of the University of Southampton where tours of the University will be available on the day of the interview.

Industry co-funded studentship

Interviews will be carried out by the project supervisors together with a representative from the DTP Management Board in February at the institute where the project is based. Candidates will be notified by the end of January if they have been selected for interview.

When applicants accept offers, they will confirm their choice of rotations and apply for a PhD at the host of their first rotation if they have not already done so.

Contact us

Amanda Britt, Research and Enterprise

01273 678498

Further information on the SoCoBio website


The timetable is as follows:


Deadline for online applications

January 10th 2022

Invitation to interview

End January 2022

Interviews at Southampton or via Zoom

February 17th-18th 2022

Open days/evenings at host Institutions

January 2022

Offer made to successful candidates

Late February/Early March 2022







At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
10 January 2022 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: