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Applying for ESRC funding or the Humanities & Social Sciences URSA

How to apply for the University Research Studentship Award or the Economic and Social Research Council South West Doctoral Training Partnership funding.

ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership funding

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) studentships are available for discipline-specific study or interdisciplinary study that will involve collaboration with a partner institution.

ESRC SWDTP funding is now available to all students (Home and International).

Find out more about funding from the ESRC SWDTP.

University Research Studentship Award funding

This guidance is for applying for URSA funding for PhD programmes in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Apply for funding for a PhD programme in Engineering & Design, Management, or Science.

URSA funding is available to Home students only.

Find out more about URSA funding and what it covers.

How to apply

To apply for URSA or ESRC SWDTP funding, indicate on your application that you wish to be considered for funding, and we will steer your application to the most appropriate funding competition.

1. Contact a supervisor

You must contact a potential supervisor to discuss your own research ideas. They will let you know if you can apply. You cannot put your application forward for funding if you have not identified and contacted a supervisor.

2. Check entry requirements

Make sure you meet the entry requirements for a PhD in the relevant department or interdisciplinary stream.

3. Complete the application forms

Complete the application form to study for the relevant department or interdisciplinary stream. You must include all the necessary supporting information as listed on how to apply for doctoral study.

In addition to the application for study, you must also include:

Equal opportunities

As part of your application you can complete the optional SWDTP Equal Opportunities Student Data Form. Information will be held confidentially and reported anonymously to the ESRC.

Send your completed form to


If you are shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview by mid-February 2023. Interviews will be held online in early March.

If successful, you will be notified by mid-April 2023. You will be expected to commence your studies on 2 October 2023.

Contact us

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