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BBSRC launches new studentship competitions

19 May 2005

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has issued a call for applications to its two new PhD studentship competitions. The new competitions, announced earlier this year, are designed to make it easier for universities to plan for the future and to provide a stable and well-structured training environment for students.

The competitions, the Quota Doctoral Training Account and the Targeted Priority Studentship, are key to BBSRC’s commitment to ensuring the supply of trained scientists joining the UK bioscience research base.

The Quota Doctoral Training Account competition is an expanded version of BBSRC’s previous quota competition, with all the studentships awarded as flexible four-year funding packages in the form of a ‘Doctoral Training Account’ (DTA). DTAs allow departments to tailor studentship support for individual students and gives them the ability to secure funding from other sources. Applications can be made by departments, faculties or other groups, and the competition assesses the broad training environment offered in biological sciences.

The Targeted Priority studentship competition is aimed at departments or groups of departments which can demonstrate a clear commitment to postgraduate training in five priority areas of biological science. This new annual competition will allow BBSRC to target studentship support at particular research areas, alongside its major funding initiatives. The areas in which applications are sought in this year’s competition are: systems biology, crop science, bioinformatics, integrative mammalian physiology and selective chemical intervention in biological systems.

Dr Ian Lyne, BBSRC Head of Postgraduate Training and Fellowships, said: “BBSRC’s use of departmental studentship competitions provides one of the best ways of supporting postgraduate research training in the UK. Our quota competitions have undoubtedly had the effect of driving up the quality of research degree programmes, because they assess the full range of training offered by a department. Our doctoral training account approach now combines this with extra flexibility for a department to plan and provide challenging postgraduate student projects, and to collaborate with other research councils and industry funders.”


Notes to editors

  1. Full details of the competitions are available on the BBSRC website.
  2. BBSRC does not make studentship awards directly to students, but allocates them to departments who then advertise for candidates. Candidates for a studentship should address their enquiries to the university department, BBSRC-sponsored research institute, company or other approved organisation where they would like to undertake a research degree.
  3. A briefing meeting on the studentship competitions will be held at the Royal Society in London on Monday 13 June 2005. Details of how to register for the above event are available from the above web-address.
  4. The Quota DTA competition will award funding for studentships in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09. Previous quota competitions have awarded only two annual intakes, and the move to provide funding for three annual intakes has been made to help departments plan ahead in their provision of postgraduate training. The competition will award 450 studentships per year for three annual intakes in the form of a single DTA held by a department.
  5. The Targeted Priority studentship competition will award studentships for start in October 2006. 50 four-year studentships will be awarded but those in systems biology will be awarded as part of a joint competition with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), who also support research in this area.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Dr Ian Lyne, BBSRC Head of Postgraduate Training and Fellowships

tel: 01793 413235


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382