SoCoBio BBSRC doctoral training partnership scholarships (2023)

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 £17,668 for 2022-23) 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 £17,668) 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:

Berni, Jimena

Designing energy efficient searching robots exploiting patterns of neuronal activity.

Bousios, Alexandros

The role of transposable elements in the fitness of the major crop species of rice during domestication

Castellanos, Maria

Understanding the genomics and ecology of floral nectar to enhance crop-pollinator interactions

Doherty, Aidan

Imaging DNA replication restart one molecule at a time

Eyre-Walker, Adam

Variation in the mutation rate across the human genome

Hall, Catherine

Microglial responses to hypoxia in the ageing brain: adaptive or hyperactive?

Kostakis, George

Copper-chelating small molecules as a treatment for neurodegeneration  

Lagnado, Leon



Mancini, Erika

Optical imaging of synaptic transmission: a transformative technology to probe the functional determinants of behaviour.

Uncovering the structural and molecular mechanism of CBTF, a key regulatory transcription factor during early embryonic development


Maravall, Miguel

All-optical analysis of cortical neuronal circuits: using a novel imaging configuration to understand communication across different parts of the cerebral cortex

Matthews, Fiona

Can fruit production and viticulture be enhanced by ecosystem services from wild mammals?

Newbury, Sarah

Manipulating the molecular features of long non-coding RNAs to regulate gene expression in an industrial context

Nicholls, Elizabeth

Perennial crops for sustainable cities

Pearl, Frances

CASE studentship: Using AI and big data to identify a set of biologically validated drug targets for hard-to-treat cancers.

Penn, Andrew

Information processing at individual excitatory synapses: How does NMDA receptor diversity contribute to calcium dynamics?

Serpell, Louise

Aging  and neuronal function in induced-pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived neurons from diverse ethnic backgrounds

Sohoglu, Ediz

Predictive brain mechanisms supporting speech processing




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.


9 January 2023 23:45

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


Further information on the SoCoBio website


The timetable is as follows:


Deadline for online applications

January 9th 2023

Invitation to interview

End January 2023

Interviews at Southampton or via Zoom

February 16th-17th 2023

Open days/evenings at host Institutions

January 2023

Offer made to successful candidates

Late February/Early March 2023







At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
9 January 2023 23:45 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: