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Availability of studentships

We have already undergone our recruitment cycle for October 2020 entry, appointing 15 students.

However, due to a unique opportunity, we have space for ONE additional student to start this October, to be based in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. A choice of two possible topics are available for this student, visible in our ‘Projects’ section. Details for how to apply for this position are available in the ‘How to Apply’ section below.


We offer fully funded 3 year 9 month studentships (maintenance grant + fees + research costs).  

  • The maintenance grant is paid at the standard  UKRI rate (currently £15,009 in Session 2019/20, and will likely increase in 2020/21 and each year of your study approximately in line with inflation). Maintenance grants are not subject to UK income tax or national insurance. 
  • All your fees to the University will be paid. 
  • Your extensive SENSE training programme and travel/accommodation costs will be covered, in addition to any research cost (e.g. fieldwork or purchasing satellite data). Beyond this, you will receive a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) of £1050/year to cover conference attendance, any additional research visits to other institutions, and other miscellaneous costs. SENSE students are further eligible to apply for extra travel funding from the centre which will be assessed on a case by case basis. 


To be eligible for our studentships you must be a UK or EU citizen, or a non-EU citizen with permanent settled status in the UK (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

We are unable to offer studentships to non-EU international candidates. 

Entry Requirements 

We expect  most  applicants to have a  degree equivalent to a UK first class honours, or a high upper second class, in an environmental science, maths, physics, computer science, or engineering discipline. However, we will consider applications from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with non-traditional  qualifications or from industry – please feel free to contact us to have a chat about your suitability for the programme.  

 We welcome applications from all suitably qualified candidates. Our graduates will come from a diverse range of backgrounds and ethnicities, and experience no prejudice at admissions or during their studies related to their sexuality, disability or any other protected characteristic. All host partners are committed to advancing gender equality, as demonstrated through signing the Athena SWAN Charter, a commitment to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit. 

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet minimum English language requirements, evidenced through an English Language test (IELTS/TOEFL).

How to apply (special extra studentship opportunity for October 2020 start – deadline 15 May)

Step 1 

Look at the available projects, and select the project you are most interested in (you can only apply for one of the two projects).  

Step 2 

An  application should be made directly to the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, through the ‘apply now’ link from this page:

This will open a page to apply for a PhD in ‘Mathematical Modelling, Analysis & Computation’. Select start date ’14 September 2020′ on the right hand side and click ‘Apply’. Ignore the details on this first page – we are using this application portal for convenience during this special recruitment (as it did not seem worth setting up a special page for recruiting a single place), but during the application you will indicate you are applying for SENSE, and only we will process your application.

Please fill in all sections as requested, taking into account these notes:

  • Under Section 4 (Programme) it will ask for a Personal Statement. At this point, please write: “Application for SENSE Programme” and then on the next line write the name of the supervisor and project title you are applying for. Do not include any personal statement beyond these two things in this section – you will upload a personal statement in Section 9.
  • Under Section 7, write ‘SENSE’ in answer to all questions – if successful SENSE will provide all your funding (stipend, fees, research costs) for this position.
  • Under Section 8 (references), please upload two references Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong references, from an academic institution (e.g. your tutor or project supervisor), or your most recent boss or equivalent if you come from an industry or other background. These can be submitted with your application if they are signed, or alternatively, they can be emailed directly by the referee to  using the  Referee’s Report form available to download here.  Please note that it is your responsibility to request these references and ensure they that are sent to us. 
  • Under Section 9, please upload the following documents:
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)/resumé  which shows a high level of academic achievement and appropriate non-academic experience. Please include high school results. 
  • Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date.  If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to send an official transcript of your results so far. 
  • Personal Statement.  Please provide a personal statement outlining (i) explain why you are interested in your chosen project, (ii) what motivates you to pursue PhD study, (iii) what is your research experience and how does you skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project, and (iv) what is the wider importance of this research project. Ideally this would not exceed a single page of A4, but we would accept up to 2 pages.  
  • English Language.  Generally, if you are from an EU country other than the UK, you may need to meet the English language requirements evidence through an English language test (e.g., IELTS/TOEFL). The test certificate is not required when applying but will be required when registering if you are successful. 

Step 3 

Interview.  We will call the strongest applicants for interview, with a panel likely involving SENSE management and the prospective supervisor. Interviews will be held by video conference in early June. We seek to make offers to students who have the best aptitude for the projects and who perform best at interview. 

Step 4 

Offer.  We will make a formal offer to the successful candidate shortly after interviews. 

Once you accept the offer of the study place, you will be sent a formal funding letter. 

Next Deadline

The application deadline for this special opportunity is 15 May 2020.


If you require any further information please contact Eleanor Graham (Edinburgh Centre Manager,