White Rose DTC ESRC Networks 2016/17


White Rose DTC ESRC Networks promote collaboration across the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.  The intention is to support interdisciplinary research excellence and develop critical mass in key areas of research with the aim of building long-term research partnerships between the White Rose Universities.

For 2016/17 the WRDTC is offering three new Networks, each with three ESRC 1+3 or +3 studentships attached, which are thematic and challenge focused.  Preference will be given to proposals linked to the two new ESRC CDT themes recently announced (Biosocial Research, New Forms of Data) and/or the revised ESRC research priorities, as identified in the ESRC Delivery Plan 2015-16 (Business Innovation, Social Science of Environmental Change, Urban Transformations, Epigenetics, Education, and Europe), though other research areas will be considered.

Key Funding Points

All three Networks will be funded by the WRDTC at 80%, with the remaining 20% to be match funded through collaboration with an external partner (private sector, public sector or civil society/third sector etc).  We will also consider White Rose HEI match funding, for the required 20%, where external partners are committed but are only able to make in-kind contributions.

The table below shows the approximate breakdown of costs per studentship for 2016/17 based on recent inflation rate annual increases:

3 Years £ Per studentship £ Per annum 1+3 Years £ Per studentship £ Per   annum
ESRC DTC contribution 44,073 14,691 ESRC DTC contribution 59,177 14,794 80%
Co Funding 11,018 3,673 Co Funding 14,794 3,699 20%
 Total 55,091 18,364  Total 73,971 18,493

Key Elements of a Network

  1. Each of the three Networks has been allocated three PhD ESRC 80% funded studentships. The students will be working within a related area, and therefore will benefit from being part of an integrated community working upon a larger initiative.
  2. Each studentship is distributed, bilateral and involves two supervisors – a principal supervisor per White Rose institution and the co-supervisor at the partner institution.
  3. Each Network therefore consists of six academics and three PhD students.
  4. One academic (either principal or co-supervisor) will act as a Network leader.
  5. Each studentship can be on a 1+3 or +3 basis.
  6. Each studentship is tenable from Session 2016/17 (start September/October 2016) and will provide Home/EU tuition fees and a maintenance grant paid at standard Research Council rates. The standard eligibility criteria regarding applying for ESRC studentships applies.  The studentships will commence at the same time, i.e. Sept/Oct 2016.
  7. The administration of the studentships, including financial payment to students is provided by the individual Universities.
  8. Each Network is expected to meet as a group at least three times a year (and the student is offered additional Research Training and Support Grant to fund travel). A short report on Network activities will be required each year.  The academic lead for the network will be responsible for producing the report, and a form will be provided for this purpose.    The Network may occasionally be asked for informal updates, e.g. for publicity purposes for the DTC.
  9. It is expected that the student appointed to the project will liaise with both supervisors at least 6 times a year.
  10. Applicants for these studentships will be expected to hold a UK Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent.
  11. Students appointed to the individual projects will be bound by the regulations of the lead institution, at which they will be registered. However, partner institutions should also extend the use of computing and library facilities as well as laboratory/research facilities by arrangement. 

Key Dates

The timetable below outlines the key dates:

Date Task Responsible body
6 October 2015 Deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI) form requesting attendance at the Development Workshop* to be submitted to DTC Office via enquiries@wrdtc.ac.uk Schools/Departments
12:00 noon, 8 December 2015 Deadline for submission of proposals to DTC Office (enquiries@wrdtc.ac.uk) Schools/Departments
By end of January 2015 3 x Network Awards announced by DTC DTC Academic Quality Committee (AQC)
Date to be determined by school/dept Successful award holders advertise, shortlist, interview etc for studentship Schools/Departments
12:00 noon, 5 April 2016 Nominations (top ranked and 2 x reserves) into DTC Office via submission to local Scholarships Officers Schools/Departments
w/c 11 April 2016 Students/staff informed of outcomes Scholarships Offices at each HEI

 * Development Workshops will take place on the following days: 12 October 2015, 10:00-12:00, University of Leeds, 19 October 2015, 10:00-12:00, University of Sheffield, 29 October 2015, 10:30-12:30, University of York – venues to be advised. 

Application Procedure

Applicants must complete the “White Rose ESRC Networks 2016/17 – Proposal Form”. Click here to download the form. It is the responsibility of the network leader to collate the studentship information and submit the proposal to enquiries@wrdtc.ac.uk by the deadline.A proposal requires the following:

  • A completed description of the overall Network (to be completed by the Network leader).
  • A description of each of the three studentships within the Network (to be completed by the principal supervisor for each studentship and to include approval from their Head of School/Department). Thus, there will be three studentship descriptions for each Network.

Please note that individual applications that are not part of a network will not be considered. 

Assessment Procedure

An expert panel appointed by the DTC Academic Quality Committee will assess the proposals using the following criteria:

  • The novelty, timeliness and clarity of the studentships overall
  • The research strengths of the participating schools and departments
  • The experience of the supervisory team. Please note that applications from new supervisors are welcomed, but applicants must demonstrate that there is suitable experience within the supervisory team.
  • The quality of the training provided.
  • The added value of the collaboration.
  • The strategic relevance of the network to the interdisciplinary cluster and the DTC as a whole.
  • The extent and nature of interaction with other networks and stakeholders.
  • The sustainability of the network and its potential for long term collaboration.
  • Available resources and facilities. 

See also: ESRC Collaborative Awards Studentships good practice guide

Contact Details

If you have a query please email enquiries@wrdtc.ac.uk.