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Study as a South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) student at Bath

Find out about the SWBio DTP funding for new doctoral students and check if you are eligible.

About the partnership

The partnership advances knowledge through high-quality research and teaching, alongside industry and the government.

The South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBRSC) and comprises the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, alongside Rothamsted Research.

This partnership also includes the following associate partners:

  • Marine Biological Association (MBA)
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
  • Swansea University
  • UCB Pharma
  • University of the West of England (UWE)
  • SETsquared Bristol

These institutions represent a distinctive group of bioscience research staff and students, with established international, national and regional networks, and widely recognised research excellence. As research leaders, they have a strong track record in advancing knowledge through high-quality research and teaching, in partnership with industry and the government.

Research themes

Studentships are available at Bath for pre-defined projects across the following research themes:

Programme structure

You will follow a structured approach to training throughout a 4-year PhD model. This will make sure you are well-equipped as a bioscience researcher for leadership positions in academia, industry and beyond.

First year

In the first year, we provide a broad awareness of the fundamental research approaches in life sciences and how they could be applied to real-life situations through taught units and rotation projects. You will complete:

Two rotation projects

Both projects will be allied with the PhD project, but in different related disciplinary areas. Where possible, this will allow you to refine your PhD project in line with your emerging research interests as the programme progresses.

Three common taught units bespoke for the SWBio DTP

These units will train you in skills that enable you to be at the forefront of cutting-edge bioscience research and equip you with many transferable skills, giving you the agility to navigate different career paths. This includes training in Statistics, Bioinformatics, coding, experimental design, innovation and understanding the impact of your research.

You will need to successfully complete the first year to be able to progress into your second year of studies. An MRes exit route is available at the end of year one should this be required.

Second to fourth years

The remaining three years will be more like a conventional PhD. You will be taking on full-time research and are likely to be based in the research group of your main supervisor.

Professional Internships for Postgraduate Students (PIPS)

You will also take part in a three-month full-time placement (or part-time equivalent) outside of an academic research environment. Placements are intended to broaden the scope of your employability after your PhD. In particular, it will encourage you to use your doctoral training skills in a broader range of careers. Examples of placements include working within policy, science communication, charities, industry and publishing.

PIPS is optional for CASE studentships as these projects will involve an industrial placement with the CASE partner for 3-18 months.

Read more about our PIPS scheme.

Cohort activities

You will also have the opportunity to attend a number of SWBio DTP cohort activities held across the partnership. These include annual student conferences, workshops, research theme activities and outreach events where you will get the chance to meet and interact with other students from the partnership, giving you access to a multidisciplinary and supportive student network.

Read further information about our cohort activities.

The PhD thesis must be submitted within 4 years of starting the programme.


There are many opportunities available to PhD students within the partnership.

Research training is underpinned by transformative technologies, allowing you to expand the boundaries of your research through innovative tools, technologies and approaches.

You will be recruited to a broad, interdisciplinary project, supported by a multidisciplinary supervisory team. There are many cross-institutional PhD projects available that build on the expertise of each of our partners.

For some projects, you will also be able to work with other national and international researchers and be involved in fieldwork opportunities.

Studentship value

Find out how much funding is available.

You could receive funding for up to four years. This includes:

  • Home tuition fees
  • generous budget for research expenses and training
  • maintenance stipend of £18,622 each year (2023/24 rate)

Eligibility criteria

Find out if you are eligible for this award.

Funding eligibility

Home and International students can apply for this award; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International students will be limited to 30% of the total.

Find out more about your tuition fee status.

Academic eligibility

To apply, you should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 1st or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. If you have a 2:2 degree you will be considered if you also have a master’s degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or an equivalent qualification or experience is required.

Equivalent qualifications/experience:

  • Physics A-level (grade B and above)
  • Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant mathematical component (for example maths, statistics, bioinformatics)

You must ensure you highlight your Maths background within your application and upload any supporting evidence.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to have achieved an Academic IELTS result of at least 6.5 overall (with no less than 6.5 in any of the four skills). Other tests are accepted - see our Postgraduate English language requirements for more information.

Application deadlines

Find out when you should submit your application.

Scheme opens

Applications are accepted from Monday 23 October 2023.

Application deadline

Applications close on Monday 4 December 2023 at 23:59 GMT.

SWBio Doctoral Training Partnership

Apply for funding

Contact us

If you have any questions about doctoral funding, get in touch.