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BBSRC White Rose DTP (WR DTP) in Mechanistic Biology: Diverse Talent Scholarships

The White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment within its postgraduate research programme. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for a fully-funded PhD scholarship as part of the White Rose DTP.

  • Funding: A tax-free annual stipend at the standard UKRI rate (£17,668 for 2022/23 entry), research costs and tuition fees at UK rate
  • Academic year: 2023/24
  • Open to: UK (home) students
  • Qualification level: Postgraduate research
Applications for 2023/24 are closed.

The White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) in Mechanistic Biology brings together world-class molecular and cellular bioscience centres at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, offering PhD projects in cutting-edge molecular, genetic and biochemical research. The DTP is committed to encouraging and supporting diverse talent. We are keen to attract the best talent from all backgrounds and encourage applications from candidates with outstanding potential, who will greatly benefit from the DTP training programme, and go on to contribute to UK and global society. 

By mapping on to the research themes of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, you'll benefit from a regional doctoral training programme that has interdisciplinary collaboration at its core. The aim is to enable you to develop a range of research skills in biological and biochemical areas as well as equip you with core mathematical, data analysis and generic professional skills that are necessary for bioscience research in the coming decades. You will experience cross-disciplinary supervision and undertake a three month professional internship with an external organisation.

The White Rose Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York offer complementary and shared strengths in advanced research areas including biological imaging and structural biology that are underpinned by investments in technologies cryo-EM and super resolution imaging as well as CLEM methodologies, which bring these two fields together. Further internationally leading facilities include Nanopore and next generation sequencing, mass spectrometry and synthetic biology. Multi-disciplinary centres such as the University of Leeds Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, Imagine at the University of Sheffield and the York Bioscience Technology Facility, provide the infrastructure underpinning bioscience research in all three universities. Internationally recognized technical and academic staff enable us to provide an outstanding range of PhD training opportunities across a wide variety of experimental and computational methods, spanning maths, chemistry and physical science to enhance and support projects. The facilities and training courses associated with each centre are available to all students on the White Rose DTP.


Open to UK (home) students only.

You can apply if you have, or are expecting to gain, first-class or 2:1 honours degree in your undergraduate study (or a Merit or above in a Masters degree). Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this programme we welcome applications if your background is in any biological, chemical or physical science or mathematics and are interested in using your skills in addressing biological questions.

The White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment within its postgraduate research programme. We are working to increase diversity and are encouraging applications from candidates of all backgrounds with outstanding potential to apply.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. For more information see our Postgraduate English language requirements.

How to apply

Application deadline: Monday 2 October 2023, 3.20pm BST

For this studentship, you apply to the programme, not to a specific project. PhD projects are available at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. Links to projects at Leeds and Sheffield are now available from the White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP Diverse Talent Scholarship webpage. Projects at York will be listed below along with a link to the primary supervisor’s research pages. Take some time to read through the lists and learn about the labs that are offering projects. Once you identify some projects that interest you, apply through the university that lists your top choice.

In order to widen access to postgraduate research to those who may not have previously considered a PhD as a viable option, we are working to improve the recruitment and selection process for applications to the White Rose DTP. As part of this, you will have the opportunity to provide a ‘contextual statement’ of about 150 words so you can tell us any details of your personal circumstances that you think are relevant. This information will help us with the decisions made by our selection panel during the short-listing for interviews. You may like to tell us about any of the following circumstances: your ethnicity; if you are in the first generation of your family to go to university; if you are from a low-income background or single-parent home; if you have received a means-tested scholarship; if you have a disability; or anything else you wish to disclose. We would also like to know about your motivation and what science excites you; so we also ask you to write about 250 words about your research interests.

As part of our efforts to improve the diversity of our postgraduate research students, we are also carrying out a separate survey to collect data about the socio-economic and ethnicity of all of our applicants. This is an anonymous survey that is not associated with your application nor will it impact your application in any way. We would appreciate it if you would help us by completing this survey.

How we allocate

Your application will include your undergraduate transcript, and other details of your academic background, as well as your statement of research interests and a contextual statement. We will also request references from two people (usually academics) who can support your application by telling us about your potential. A DTP selection panel representing the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York will assess these documents during shortlisting and invite the best candidates for interview.

If you're shortlisted you'll be invited for an interview in April 2023. You'll be notified as soon as possible after the interview dates whether your application has been successful, placed on a reserve list or unsuccessful. If you are successful, you'll be required to confirm your intention to accept the studentship within 10 days.

Terms and conditions

The studentships are fully funded for four years and it is expected you will complete your PhD in four years. 

You'll receive a minimum ‘stipend’ of £17,668 per year for your living costs, which is paid to you in regular instalments. The stipend is a kind of salary for postgraduate students that is tax free and does not need to be paid back. It is what you use to pay your rent and food and other living expenses. Your tuition fees and lab costs are also paid for by this scholarship.

As a member of the York Graduate Research School, you'll study throughout the whole year, working for at least 35 hours per week, and will have a usual annual leave entitlement (normally 30 days over the year plus public holidays). You are encouraged to make use of your leave and have a responsibility to discuss the timing of this with your supervisor (for longer periods of holiday) and recording leave taken throughout the year. Students working in collaboration with non-academic partners are expected to bear in mind their obligations to those partners in planning leave.

You must adhere to the University’s regulations, policies and guidance regarding research degree programmes

As part of the York White Rose DTP programme you are expected to attend all mandatory meetings and training sessions scheduled by the DTP and by the lead Department.

Contact details

Biology Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)1904 32 8546


The Diverse Talent Scholarships are PhD studentships that are part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership. The WR DTP includes a wide range of research groups addressing diverse biological problems using interdisciplinary approaches and innovative research tools. BBSRC-funded research across the partnership supports a broad selection of supervisors at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York offering PhD projects within the BBSRC remit.