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Doctoral Training Programmes

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Funded PhD Study

Queen's University Belfast continues to be successful in securing multimillion-pound funding for doctoral training programmes from UK Research Councils, EU-funded innovative training networks, the Wellcome Trust and other charitable organisations.

This funding, coupled with our top-eight position in the most recent UK-wide Research Excellence Framework, means we can offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment.

Current funded opportunities

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Nurturing outstanding postgraduate students

We currently have over 15 flagship doctoral training programmes, funded centres and partnerships, which aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide world-class training within a thriving research culture across a number of disciplines.

Our Graduate School works closely to support our Doctoral Training Centres and Partnerships, coordinating a network of staff to nurture our postgraduate researchers.  

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The benefits of undertaking doctoral study through one of Queen's Doctoral Training programmes typically include:

  • Competitive stipends and maintenance grants
  • Unique multi-disciplinary, fully-funded opportunities
  • Access to world leading experts 
  • Involvement of leading industry, business, government and charity partners in both training and research
  • Dynamic and engaging student experience, as part of a common research community
  • Research skills training and support funding 

These positions are often only open to applicants resident in the UK for at least three years prior to their application. Requirements vary, so please check individual centres. The first year typically includes taught elements for developing research and transferable skills as well as a research element to explore potential PhD-level topics.

Prospective students should read the eligibility requirements for funding carefully before applying.

The following Doctoral Training Programmes offer studentships at Queen's University Belfast:

Recruiting for 2023 entry

  • Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Algorithmic Solutions (LINAS)

    The LINAS Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) seeks to develop a cohort of Doctoral Scholars who can address the implications of massive-scale data processing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for both the actual operation of algorithmically driven public decision-making in wider society, and within science and engineering.

    Together the rapidly evolving approaches to data make up what have been termed ‘enigmatic technologies’, where authority is concealed behind algorithms. Within the social science domain, algorithmically driven public decision-making, challenges the role of human agency and politics, human rights law and principles of transparency and accountability. For science and engineering, there is a challenge to the traditional scientific governing principles of transparent working and reproducibility. 

    Key features: 3 or 4 years funding; stipend and fees;RTSG

    More information on LINAS

  • Northern Bridge Consortium - full range of Arts and Humanities subjects

    Northern Bridge Consortium is a Doctoral Training Partnership (NBCDTP) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It brings together the cutting-edge expertise and exceptional resources of Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Queen’s University Belfast, Sunderland University, Teesside University and Ulster University and their strategic partners.

    We offer more than 60 fully funded studentships per year to outstanding postgraduate researchers across the full range of Arts and Humanities subjects, including Creative Practice disciplines.

    Key features: 3.5 years funding; Stipend and fees; RTSG; placement

    More information on Northern Bridge Consortium

  • Northern Ireland and North East (NINE) Doctoral Training Partnership - Social Sciences

    This NINE DTP provides exceptional social sciences training. We are offering over fifty fully-funded studentships per year to outstanding postgraduate researchers in the social sciences.

    Key features: 1+3. 3.5 or 3 years funding; Stipend and fees; RTSG; internships; overseas field trips

    More information on NINE

  • QUADRAT - Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Management

    QUADRAT brings together research and training centres of excellence in biological sciences and geosciences from the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast, and a broad network of collaborative partners, to provide a transformative platform for the PhD journey.

    Our doctoral training platform equips our students with the skills and holistic understanding essential for the next generation of scientific leaders in academic, industry and policy development. Our unique geographic positions, unprecedented research and training infrastructure and strategic alliances makes this an excellent opportunity for all those engaged.

    Our themes of Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Management allow for an integration of both theoretical and applied projects capable of addressing the most significant environmental and societal challenges we face now and in the future.

    More information on QUADRAT

Need more information or help in next steps? Contact us via the forms linked below.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences   Engineering and Physical Sciences    Medicine, Health and Life Sciences

Ongoing Doctoral Programmes

  • Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS)

    The Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS) at Queen’s University Belfast has been established to support pioneering research at the interface between the social sciences and electronic engineering & computer science. LINCS brings together The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) to develop a distinctive cohort of doctoral students working across the boundaries of their disciplines who will open up new avenues of enquiry centered initially on the priority themes and specific PhD projects.

    Key features: 3 years funding; stipend and fees; RTSG

    More information on LINCS

  • SPaRK

    A Horizon2020 funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie doctoral training programme that supports interdisciplinary PhD students at Queen’s University Belfast..

    At its core, the SPaRK Programme is driven by the need to develop future leaders whose skills combine disciplinary excellence with a capacity for interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international (3i) working that creates genuinely disruptive thinkers.

    Key features: 3 year employment contract, dual status,fees paid (DfE are cofunders)

    More information on SPaRK

  • CITI-GENS

    CITI-GENS has recruited and trained 20 outstanding early stage researchers (ESRs).

    They will be transformed into a professional and skilled cohort addressing global challenges aligned to the themes of the Belfast Region City Deal innovation ecosystem: Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences and the Creative Industries. Applications now closed for 2020.

    Key features: 4 year employment contract, dual status,fees paid (DfE are cofunders)

    More information on CITI-GENS

  • ICONIC - Improving the Crashworthiness of Composite Transportation Structures

    The European aerospace, automotive, and rail industries are committed to improving their energy efficiency to meet targets set within the EU’s climate, energy and transport policies. This is motivating the increased use of lightweight composite materials in lieu of heavier metallics.

    To implement this transition, these industries must reach the same level of crash performance achieved with metals, but at significantly lower weight and without increasing cost. This is viewed by industry as an exceptionally challenging goal and will require highly trained engineers. The EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network ICONIC (ICONIC ITN – Improving the crashworthiness of composite transportation structures) aims to cultivate such a new generation of young engineers.

    Professor Brian G. Falzon from Queen’s University Belfast (United Kingdom) coordinates the ICONIC research project, supported by the ICONIC Management Group. Contact us to learn more about the ICONIC ITN.

    More about ICONIC

  • MISTRAL - Renewable energy infrastructure

    MISTRAL (Multi-sectoral approaches to Innovative Skills Training for Renewable energy & sociAL acceptance) will train a new generation of researchers who can evaluate the complexity of social acceptance issues facing the deployment of renewable energy infrastructure, and propose innovative solutions in a variety of research, government and business contexts.

    We will provide a world-class training environment where Early Stage Researchers will benefit from a range of diverse secondment experiences and develop advanced research techniques and transferable skills. The network has beneficiaries in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Ireland.

    MISTRAL has received funding as an Innovative Training Network from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (Grant Agreement No 813837).

    More information on MISTRAL

  • Bryden Centre - Marine renewable energy

    The Bryden Centre is focused on harnessing the potential of marine renewable energy.

    The centre is a €9.4 million cross-border, renewable energy research centre funded by the EU under the INTERREG VA programme.

    Renewable energy represents a major opportunity for this interregional area with many geographic, economic and demographic characteristics that provide a distinctive competitive advantage in a global marketplace.

    More about the Bryden Centre

  • Cancer Research

    This unique four year programme combines a Masters at Queen’s with a choice of cancer related project in year 1 with a PhD at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in years 2-4

    More information on the Cancer Research programme

  • Molecular Pathology, Cancer Immunotherapy and Artificial Intelligence/Digital Pathology

    CRUK Centres Network Accelerator Award: The Accelerator represents a unique programme, creating critical mass in areas of pivotal importance/relevance to CRUK: Molecular Pathology, Cancer Immunotherapy and Artifical Intelligence/Digital Pathology (AI/DP).

    More about the Accelerator Award

  • EIT FOOD Education Programmes (IGFS)

    The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) brings together leading higher education institutions, research labs and companies to form dynamic cross-border partnerships - Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) - that develop innovative products and services, start new companies and train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

    EIT Food is a European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), part of the EIT, which was set up to transform our food ecosystem. It is a consortium of over 50 partners from leading businesses, universities, research centres and institutes across 13 countries in Europe, with the ambition to create a future proof and effective food sector through a connected food system.  By connecting consumers with businesses, start-ups, researchers and students from around Europe, EIT Food supports innovative and economically sustainable initiatives which improve our health, our access to quality food, and our environment.

    More information on EIT Food 

  • PIADS - Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage

    The EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage is a vibrant research community bringing together postgraduate researchers and academics from Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in Cork. Working closely with industry, our research aims to tackle some of the challenges created by the increasing quantities of data generated by today's society.

    More information on PIADS

  • Secure Connected Intelligent Design and Manufacturing

    The programme is now offering a diverse selection of PhD opportunities across a broad range of research areas which will be supervised by multi-disciplinary academic teams from Schools across the University.  Each project has the potential to deliver significant scientific and societal benefits in addition to the accelerated development of the successful PhD candidates.

    Working with world leaders in their field, researchers will be given access to training opportunities which will enhance their capacity to deliver impactful research and provide a solid platform for their future career either in academia or in industry.

    Find out more about this programme

Horizon Europe

On 24 December 2020, the UK government announced that the UK will associate to Horizon Europe subject to ratification of the overall deal and finalisation of the Horizon Europe Programme regulations. This means that the UK applicants will have the same access than Member States applicants. The association will last for the full duration of the programme (2021-27). The first Horizon Europe calls are expected to launch in April 2021. QUB researchers look forward to continue participating in a range of opportunities including the MSCA Doctoral Networks (the new name for ITNs).

To understand how you can participate in Horizon Europe funded projects or to partner with Queen’s please get in touch with euoffice@qub.ac.uk or consult support for our researchers page.

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