Applying to LISS

The LISS DTP Open Competition has now closed but there is a short time left to apply  for some CASE studentships.

Our goal is to recruit outstanding and diverse candidates from UK and international (including EU) students. In particular, we encourage applications from UK students with a Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background who are currently underrepresented within the LISS DTP. 
For the CASE competition applications should be made directly to the project supervisor.

All LISS DTP studentships are available either full- or part-time in either 1+3 or +3 format.

LISS DTP awards ESRC-funded postgraduate research studentships in the social sciences at our three partner institutionsKing’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College.

Whilst interdisciplinarity is the hallmark of LISS DTP research, ESRC studentships are only available for projects that fall substantially (>50%) within the broad social and behavioral science remit of the ESRC.  For guidance, please see this ESRC webpage. For more information, please visit the UK Research and Innovation websites.

There are two studentship competitions:

  • the Open Competition where where research proposals are generated by applicants
  • the CASE Competition where research projects must have a non-academic  partner, and the research proposal is submitted by the academic supervisor.  Input to the proposal from a student applicant is possible.

For both competitions we offer funding for either a 1+3 studentship (1-year Masters degree followed by a 3-year PhD) or a +3 studentship (3-year PhD) .  All studentships are available full-time or part-time (50%).    Full-time students receive a stipend of £17,285 per annum, and their fees are paid.  (Fees for International students may not be paid in full.)  Additional funding for research costs of around £750 per annum is also available.

You may submit only one application for each annual competition.  Students who are unsuccessful one year may apply again another year.

Slides from the LISS DTP applicant briefings run in November can be viewed here.

Advice on finding a supervisor

You can find some advice and guidance on the process of finding a supervisor for your research degree within the links below:

We also recommend you visit the research portals for the institutions within our partnership. There you will be able to search by the academic’s name or subject/discipline/field of research

LISS DTP studentships are now open to both Home and International students for entry from October 2021 onwards.  You must however be  aware of the definitions of each category and their funding implications.

Nationality and residency requirements for both Home and International students can be found in Annex One of the UKRI Guidance issued in October 2020.  Please read this document to determine whether you will be classed as a Home or International student. Contact the Admissions team at the institution to which you have applied if you are uncertain of your status. LISS DTP is unable to advise on complex cases and will abide by your institution’s assessment of your status.  Brexit information for EU,EEA and Swiss nationals for King’s applicants can be found here.

Home students

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If you do not meet the above criteria you are classed as an International student, For further details please refer to Annex One of the UKRI Guidance issued in October 2020

International students

Following a  UKRI announcement on the 20th August 2020, international students (including EU students) will be eligible for awards from October 2021 onwards.  Applicants should note however that the ESRC will only provide fees at the UK rate, so the difference between the UK rate  (£4500) and the international rate will have to be met by the student’s department, institution or another source such as self-funding.  LISS DTP institutions are waiving the fee difference for a limited number of international students. At this stage we cannot guarantee that every international student offered a studentship will receive a waiver of the fee difference.

Academic eligibility

In view of the limited number of studentships available, successful applicants are likely to have a very good first degree (BA or BSc Honours or equivalent, at 1st class standard or upper 2nd with average of 65% or above.  For +3 awards, an appropriate Masters degree (at distinction or at least high merit level) is expected. Other qualifications relevant to the proposed area of study, such as professional or work-related expertise, will also be considered.

The following are NOT eligible:
  • Students who will have less than 50% of their study time (usually 3 years for a full-time PhD) remaining when they start their LISS-funded studentship.  In practice, this means that students in their first year of doctoral study can apply for funding for the second and third years.
  • Distance learning programmes .
  • Applicants who have already been awarded a PhD or equivalent degree.

CASE collaborative studentships are awarded for projects previously developed by a supervisor, so your supervisor, and the general outline of the project, is already.

Studentships in the Open Competition are awarded for projects originated by the student applicant.  Once you have an idea of the purpose and scope of your project, you should approach an academic at one of our three partner institutions to see if they will act as your supervisor and help you to refine your project idea as necessary.  As you’ll see from our application forms, if you are applying for a 1+3 award you are not expected to have as fully-formed a research proposal as someone who is applying for a +3 award and already has a Masters degree.

Staff bios on departmental websites are a good place to start to find academics who share your research interests.  You can also approach academics within departments who are designated as ‘PGR or PhD tutors’ or administrative staff responsible for PGRs.  It is relevant to do this even if you’re applying for a 1+3 award and will need to undertake a Masters first because a condition of a 1+3 award is that you’ll continue immediately into a PhD programme after your Masters is completed.  It’s therefore strongly advised that you choose a supervisor for your Masters degree/thesis who will continue to act as a PhD supervisor for you.

If you will be undertaking a Masters programme, you can also look at the modules on the Masters programme for which you’re applying: who teaches those modules?  Those academics are likely well-placed to supervise or suggest colleagues with similar interests who might be willing to supervise your project.

Please see also the text on this page about other sources of guidance on finding a supervisor.

LISS DTP’s CASE Collaborative studentship competitions promote partnerships between social scientists at King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College and end-user organisations (public or private or third sector ‘partner institutions’).  A collaborative studentship (referred to as a CASE studentship) is one in which the student enhances their training by working closely with the non-academic partner in the development of their research project. They are a great way to initiate longer-term partnerships and to ensure the ‘impact’ of doctoral research.

Academic staff initially apply for collaborative studentships, as potential supervisors.  This initial call for academic proposals will open each September and close in mid-November each year .  Successful proposals are then invited to recruit students by March/April so that they can commence in October.

CASE Project Proposals by Academics:

Academic applicants are limited to ONE CASE application in which they are the named primary supervisor.  It is possible to be listed as a second supervisor on multiple CASE applications.

Studentships are expected to commence in the October following the successful awarding of CASE funding to an academic project.

If successful, the academic may award the studentship either to a named student or through an agreed recruitment process.  The involvement of the partner institution should add value to the studentship (e.g. distinctive opportunities for analysis, dissemination, research management, networking and/or knowledge transfer) and a financial contribution (though this is not essential).  The PhD project should also enhance the partner institution’s activities by offering the potential for societal or economic impact.  The academic project lead will be asked to explain in the Case for Support form whether the project will be best undertaken in a 1+3 or +3 format.  A decision on this should be made in consultation with the non-academic partner and in light of the level of training that the student will need to have to undertake the project.

You can obtain more guidance on the application timeline process and read the judging criteria for these awards on the CASE Studentship page.

If you are an academic within the LISS partnership and would like to submit a CASE project proposal, please visit the following page for more information and a link to the online application form.

Applying for CASE Studentships as a Prospective Student:

Those who are interested in applying to be the student on a LISS DTP CASE project can view available projects, their application deadlines and materials required to apply on this page.    Projects are usually advertised from January each year, with recruitment and selection being handled by the supervisor.  Students should be identified by March/April each year ready to commence study in October.

The Open Competition enables students to propose their own research project for funding.  The Open Competition opens each November with an application deadline at the end of January.  The next deadline is the 29th January 2021.  Applicants are notified in April about whether or not they have been awarded a studentship  commencing in October. Studentships are offered as either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Masters and PhD).  You will need to identify a supervisor who will write a supporting statement for your application.

Please see the page about the Open Studentship Application Process for more information.