Funding Opportunities

Last update: 23 April 2016


Several funding opportunities are available for graduate students wishing to embark on a PhD. The following list provides links to the most popular sources. Other funding opportunities can be found at the Scholarships and Student Funding Services. The Scholarships home page is updated regularly with information on newly approved awards. A search for bursaries, scholarships and other financial aids can be done here.

Please contact me if you are interested in applying to any of the schemes below to work with me.

STFC PhD Studentships

Most UK students are funded by STFC grants which cover maintenance and fees, and which are awarded by the School of Physics and Astronomy. Students are encouraged to approach members of staff directly to discuss potential projects as well as the availability of such grants within a given group. Offers are typically made in February-March each year.

Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

The Carnegie Trust offers a number of scholarships each year to academically outstanding candidates who are intending to study on a PhD programme at any University in the United Kingdom, but usually in Scotland. The awards are tenable for three years and will not normally be made for a lesser period. The scholarships cover tuition fees, maintenance allowance, research and travel allowance.

Applicants must be graduates of a Scottish University with a First Class Honours degree. Students in their final year of an undergraduate degree who are expected to obtain a First-Class Honours degree may apply, withdrawing if they fail to do so. Candidates must be nominated by a member of academic staff and must submit their applications to the Carnegie Trust typically by mid March.

SUPA Prize Studentships

For non-UK students, the main funding opportunity is the SUPA Prize Studentship programme. This is highly competitive, being open to students regardless of nationality, and covering all Scottish Universities with Physics departments. UK students can also apply for SUPA Prize studentships (which pay slightly more), but competition is significantly higher than for STFC grants and only students with excellent academic records are encouraged to apply. Note that the closing date for SUPA applications is normally at the end of January.

Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships

At least 30 Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships will be awarded for session 2014-2015. Each award covers the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU graduate student and that chargeable to an overseas graduate student. The awards do not cover maintenance expenses.

The awards are open to overseas students undertaking a research degree and may be held in any field of study. Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and research potential. Eligible applicants should complete an online scholarship application typically by the beginning of February.

Principal’s Career Development PhD Scholarships

The Principal’s Career Development awards are open to UK, EU and overseas students applying to study for a research degree. Applicants must have already applied for admission to a full-time PhD research programme of study at the University. They must be of outstanding academic merit and research potential. Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a UK first class or 2:1 honours degree at undergraduate level or the international equivalent. Candidates are required to have good English Language skills with scholarship applicants normally requiring a minimum IELTS of 7.0.

Principal’s awards cannot be held concurrently with fully-funded scholarships but can be held with partial awards such as the Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships. Eligible applicants should complete an online scholarship application before the beginning of February.


In addition to positions that the School of Physics and Astronomy may advertise, there are various sources of external funding available to pursue postdoctoral research in Edinburgh:

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

Royal Society University Research Fellowships

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

Newton International Fellowships

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

ERC Starting Grants

European Commission FP7 Fellowships (Marie Curie Actions)

AvH Feodor Lynen Fellowships (for German applicants)

Royal Commission of 1851 Fellowships

NWO Rubicon Fellowships

NWO Innovation Research Incentives (veni, vidi, vici)

NSF International Fellowships (for American applicants)

Marshall Sherfield Fellowships (for American applicants)

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships (for Canadian applicants)

Toshiba Fellowships  (for EU applicants currently working in the UK)

Lichtenberg Professorships (level W1 and W2)


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