Guidance Notes on completing the
Application for SE DTC Studentships 2012
Applicants should read the ESRC Funding Guidelines and check their eligibility
for funding before completing their application.
All forms and supporting documents can be downloaded from partner websites
and from: www.southeastdtc.ac.uk
Applicants are advised to seek advice from the University in which the PhD will be
primarily located when completing the form. Applicants should also apply for a place on
the PhD programme of the University of their choice.
General Notes on completing the form Page 2
Checklist Page 2
Notes for the applicant Page 2
Notes on Supporting Documents: Degree Transcripts Page 5
When the application form has been completed Page 5
Notes for referees Page 5
Notification and Acceptance of Awards Page 7
Equal Opportunities Monitoring form Page 7
Appendix 1: SE DTC Awards - University Assessment Criteria Page 7
General Notes on completing the form
Application form to be completed by the applicant in conjunction with their proposed
Reference form to be completed by the applicant's referees.
Degree Transcripts: Applicants must include Degree Transcripts as evidence of marks
and degree results.
All sections of the form must be word-processed using at least 10pt font. Text should
be confined to the spaces provided. Please ensure that the format of the form is
It is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the progress of the completion of the
application. The applicant should keep in regular contact with all those who are
involved in completing the application to ensure that all parts are completed and
submitted by the appropriate deadlines.
Application assessment criteria are provided in Appendix 1.
In order to complete your application, please ensure that you have completed the following
and sent to the relevant University contact (as per Question 9) by the deadline of 10th
- Completed and returned your application form (including copies of your degree
- Completed and returned your Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form
- Ensure that your Referees have completed and returned their references to the
relevant University contact as per Question 9 by the deadline of 10 th February 2011
- You must also apply to the University of your choice for a place on their PhD
Notes for the applicant
Question 1 - Pathway
Please indicate which one of the following Pathways you will be following:
Economics (Kent; Reading; Royal Holloway; Surrey)
Human Geography (Reading; Royal Holloway)
Management and Business Studies (Kent; Reading; Royal Holloway; Surrey)
Political Science and International Studies (Kent; Reading; Royal Holloway)
Psychology (Kent; Reading; Royal Holloway; Surrey)
Social Anthropology (Kent)
Social Work and Social Policy (Kent)
Socio-Legal Studies (Reading; Kent)
Sociology (Kent; Royal Holloway; Surrey)
Environment, Energy and Resilience (Kent; Reading; Royal Holloway; Surrey)
Question 3 - Contact details
The academic Department in which you propose to study, the Researcher, Faculty /
School Office and/or the University Registry may need to contact you between April and
August 2012. Please provide contact details that will cover that period.
Question 4 – Mode of Study
Please indicate whether you will be studying Full Time or Part Time. Please note that the
maximum period of funded registration for a part time student is 6 years at 50% for
completion of the +3 element of the PhD.
Please discuss with your supervisor which mode (+3; 1+3 etc) is most suitable for you.
The 1+3 award comprises one year's funding for an MSc providing ESRC recognised
research training, followed by three years' funding for doctoral research.
The +3 award comprises three years' funding for doctoral research.
The +4 award spreads the research training across the four years rather than in an
The CASE award involves collaboration with and funding from a non HE partner.
Question 5 – Student Classification
South East DTC funding is only available to Home or EU students. Both Home and EU
students have to satisfy the standard research council eligibility criteria.
See the ESRC’s Postgraduate Funding Guide at
EU students who have not been resident in the UK for the 3 years preceding the award (i.e.
on 30th September 2012) will be entitled to a Fees Only award.
Question 6 - Current funding applications
Please indicate if you are also applying to other institution(s) for an ESRC studentship.
Please be aware that if an applicant is offered more than one studentship place by
different DTCs only one can be accepted.
Question 7 - Professional experience
Provide information about any employment, work or professional experience (research and
/or practice-based) that is relevant to your proposed programme of study and will
therefore strengthen your application. Please use the space provided and do not attach
Question 8 - Career in higher education to date
If you have more than one qualification at the same level, please provide details of all
those relevant to this application.
Question 9 – University details
Please enter the contact name for the partner University with whom you are registering.
The referees will be asked to send their references to this contact and you should also send
your completed application forms to this contact.
Kent: Suzie Morris email@example.com
Reading: Chris Robson firstname.lastname@example.org
Royal Holloway: Ben Credland Ben.Credland@rhul.ac.uk
Surrey: Emma Dewhirst email@example.com
Question 10 – Supervisor details
Please give the details of your supervisory team. All DTC supervision must involve at least 2
supervisors. If applying for a CASE studentship or working in collaboration with industrial or
non-Higher Education partners then students should give details of a supervisor from the
Question 11 – Proposed training
You will need to discuss this section with your proposed supervisor(s). Please give an
indication of the modules you will need to take. Full module lists will be available from
your proposed department.
Question 12 - Proposed research project.
Please give the title of your proposed research project (or current project if you have
already started your PhD).
Supporting statement for proposed research project
Your 'supporting statement' is key to your application. You should discuss the
content of this section with your proposed supervisor(s). Assessors will look for
evidence of high quality and strong potential for doctoral study (evidence of
intellectual purpose and originality, reasons for, and approach towards,
undertaking your proposed study, awareness of the research context).
Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon. Bear in mind that the members of
the Assessment Panel may not be experts in your particular specialist field: you
should write your 'supporting statement' with this audience in mind, not your
Please note there is a strict limit of 10,000 characters (including spaces). The
number of characters used must be provided. Please note that if your proposal
exceeds this limit the assessors will only read the first 10,000 characters. Brief
academic references should be included in this character limit. A list of references
at the end of your research proposal is preferable to footnotes.
You should consider the following points:
Your research project, reasons for undertaking it and consider addressing
key areas/issues of the project, and why you wish to pursue this
the research problems or questions you intend to address;
the research context in which those problems or questions are
the particular contribution to knowledge and understanding in this
area that you hope to make, explaining why the work is important;
noting relevance to non-academic beneficiaries as appropriate
the methods and critical approaches that you plan to use, and the
sources, if appropriate. If you envisage conducting overseas
fieldwork please include the destination country and the estimated
duration of your trip in weeks;
how the proposed work relates to what you have studied already
(where there is overlap between your Masters dissertation and your
doctoral research, you should demonstrate how the project will go
further and state the added value of continuing to research in this
any ethical issues relating to the research project including how
these will be identified and addressed. Please indicate whether the
proposal will undergo a formal ethical review (this need not take
place until the notification of any award). If the research does not
involve any ethical implications please say why (e.g. ‘secondary
analysis of existing data previously subject to ethical review’;
‘desktop project’; ‘library sources only’).
how the project will develop over the period of the award (e.g. key
how the doctoral research relates to your eventual career aims.
If you have already begun your doctoral study, indicate the work you have
undertaken to date, providing information on main pieces of work
Preparation and previous relevant experience. Include a brief indication of
any previous experience or preparation that is relevant to your proposed
research project (e.g. aspects of your Masters study, additional degrees,
qualifications, training or relevant skills).
Question 13 - Your referees
You should choose your two referees carefully: together they should have a good knowledge
of your academic record to date and your plans for the research project. They should be in
a position to judge your suitability and preparedness for doctoral study. Only one of your
referees can be a member of your proposed (or actual) supervisory team. You may ask
the supervisor of your Masters dissertation to be one of your referees. Ensure that you draw
their attention to the guidance notes for referees contained within this document.
Question 14 – CASE or other Collaborative Awards
CASE and other Collaborative Awards are designed for research students to carry out
projects within the Social Sciences in collaboration with companies/business/policy
organisations etc. They provide PhD students with the opportunity to gain experience of
work outside an academic environment. An academic supervisor and a company supervisor
support students. The partner organisation makes a financial contribution as cash or “in
kind” to the DTC and / or student.
This section should only be completed if your project fits into this description.
Question 15 - Applicant’s declaration
Please sign and date the form confirming that the information provided is complete and
Notes on supporting documents: Degree Transcripts
Please provide copies of your Degree Transcripts as evidence of your academic performance
When the application form has been completed:
pass a copy of the completed application form, along with copies of Degree
Transcripts (evidence of your marks and degree results) to each of the referees you
have identified so that they can complete their reports; you should also provide
them with a copy of this document ("Application for SE DTC Studentship 2012 -
Notes on completing the form") and draw their attention to the importance of the
guidance; and, at the same time
pass the completed application form to the University contact person in the
institution at which you propose to study, along with Degree Transcripts (evidence
of your marks and degree results). The referees should complete their sections and
then pass them directly to the University contact person (as provided in
Question 9). Both referees are asked to return their references to the relevant
University by 10th February 2012.
This is the deadline by which the University must have the completed
application and reference form and all the supporting documents.
Please note that it is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the progress of the
application and check that all Parts are completed on time. The University will not request
references on your behalf from your referees, and your application will not be considered if
both references are not received.
Notes for referees
The applicant should have provided you with a copy of the completed Application Form and
copies of their Degree Transcripts as evidence of marks and degree results. You should also
have been given a Reference form which you may choose to complete at your discretion -
references in other formats will be accepted.
This applicant has applied for a doctoral award. As a referee, you should try to provide
detailed comments on the applicant's recent academic or professional work and an
assessment of his/her preparedness for doctoral study. It is helpful to the panel if you
provide evidence both of the skills and aptitudes that the applicant displays and,
importantly, how they relate to the proposed study (as described in the applicant's
References that do not provide a detailed appraisal of the applicant's academic (or
professional) development and suitability for his/her proposed research, but are simply
a general statement of support, may disadvantage even the strongest applicant. Please
do not make inappropriate comments such as personal remarks.
Professional referees should state how long the applicant has worked with them and in
what capacity. You should detail the type and range of duties that were performed, and
how this may have prepared the applicant for the proposed study.
Please type your report in no less than 10pt typescript and keep within the allocated space.
Please comment under the following headings:
a) Previous performance
For academic referees: Please provide a realistic appraisal of the applicant's
abilities based on your assessment of his/her academic and, where relevant,
professional performance to date. Include comments on the applicant's overall
performance in his/her degree(s) and his/her performance on individual modules or
courses if you have taught him/her at undergraduate and/or Masters level.
For professional referees, please draw on your experience of the applicant's work
to give an appraisal of his/her professional performance to date. Please highlight
the applicant’s strengths/weaknesses in the area in which he/she plans to study.
Please give examples to illustrate your comments.
b) Preparedness for doctoral study
Please give your assessment of the applicant's motivation and commitment and
his/her capacity for working independently on the project throughout – mentioning
any relevant intellectual, practical, technical or professional skills the applicant
possesses that you have not already highlighted. The assessors are interested in
such qualities as the applicant's conceptual and problem-solving abilities,
organisational abilities and, where relevant, his/her practical or technical
You should say how the proposed research project relates to the applicant's
experience to date, and to his/her future plans. You may wish to address questions
such as how the applicant has developed and improved during his/her
undergraduate or postgraduate career.
If the applicant is currently undertaking a Masters’ degree, and if you are permitted
to do so, please include details of any formal assessments of his/her Masters work.
This information should link in to the predicted grade that you have indicated.
If the applicant has commenced his/her doctoral study, please include details of
his/her progress to date. You should give an assessment of the applicant's progress
and say on what basis this assessment has been made.
Professional referees should also comment on the applicant's professional
commitment, motivation and potential. It would be helpful to say how the
professional experience the applicant has gained has built on his/her academic
studies, and how it will prepare him/her to pursue his/her research and meet
his/her long-term career aims.
The applicant might request to see a copy of their references. If you wish to
withhold your consent to release your report to the applicant, please tick the box.
If the box is not ticked, we will assume that you have given your consent.
When the reference has been completed:
(a) please inform the applicant that you have completed your reference;
(b) pass the reference to the University contact (see details supplied in Question 9, of the
application form completed by the applicant).
Please note that the deadline for the receipt of both references by the University is
10th February 2012.
Notification and Acceptance of Awards
Letters will be issued at the latest by the end of April notifying candidates of the decisions
made by the Selection Panel.
The ESRC have indicated that initial decisions from DTCs should be confirmed by mid-April
and have encouraged students to submit a prompt response to the offer. Each Offer letter
will indicate the final date by which the University must have received your acceptance.
Please note that proof of posting is not proof of acceptance. In order to gain proof that the
University has received your response it is recommended that you use a recorded signed for
mail delivery service. If you email your acceptance then a personal email response (not an
out-of-office response) from the registering institution acknowledging receipt would be
sufficient, however, you should allow additional time for this by sending ahead of the
Once any offer conditions have been satisfied, acceptance of the offer constitutes a binding
agreement between the applicant and University which is not transferable to another DTC
(except in exceptional circumstances after the student has started the PhD as stipulated by
ESRC and by agreement between the two DTCs concerned).
Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form
The SEDTC is committed to ensuring that applicants are selected on the basis of merit.
Completion of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring From will help us to ensure that our
policies and procedures are effective in avoiding discrimination and promoting equal
opportunities in awarding studentships.
Please complete the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form and return to your University
contact detailed in Question 9 by the deadline of 10 th February 2011.
Your answers will be used to evaluate the effective operation of our Equal Opportunities
Policy and to report to the ESRC. Please note: Your answers will not affect your
application in any way. The form does not need to be sent to your referees or potential
Appendix 1: SE DTC Awards
1. Evidence of the quality of the applicant.
This will be based on the Supporting Statement made by the applicant in his/her
application, and evidence provided by the referees about the applicant's performance at
undergraduate and postgraduate level, and in terms of any relevant professional experience.
Reference will be made to Degree Transcripts, individual module marks and degree results.
2. Evidence that the applicant is well-prepared for his/her proposed research and
This will be based on the applicant's description of how his/her previous experience
(academic and professional) has prepared him/her for doctoral study and research, and
their description of how the programme will contribute to their long-term career aims. The
assessors will also consider the supporting evidence provided by the referees, particularly
in terms of the applicant's suitability for doctoral research and this research project.
3. Evidence of the quality and feasibility of the proposed study.
This will be based on the applicant's account of the proposed research project and their
reasons for pursuing it, how it fits with their eventual career aims. It will also be based on
the information supplied by the potential supervisors.
The assessors will be looking for evidence of the applicant's ability to articulate a research
project, a coherent and well thought-out plan for doctoral study, and a good awareness of
the place of his/her research within the current field and the potential impact of the work.
They will also be considering the expertise and relevance of the potential supervisors.