Wilkie Calvert Co-Supported PhD Studentships

Building research-focused partnerships with employers 

Researching in the LibraryThis new scheme is designed to help the University to build research focused partnerships with selected non-academic employers and to support the career development of their talented individuals. Through the scheme, the University and employers will co-support professionals who are early- to mid-career and are keen to develop their career further by gaining a PhD while conducting research on a topic that is of strategic relevance to their organisation.

What does a studentship provide?

The University will provide funding to cover the cost of tuition fees for part-time PhD study (at the Home/EU rate) for up to five years.

When do awards start?

Applications are now invited with a deadline of 1 February 2018 for those looking to commence in the summer term of the 2017/18 academic year, or October 2018.  

What are the criteria for eligibility?

  • All candidates will need to meet the requirements for academic admission to their PhD programme in order to be eligible.
  • In addition, candidates would normally be expected to hold an undergraduate degree (at the 2.1 level or equivalent) or a Master’s degree. This requirement may be waived where candidates have a body of relevant professional experience.
  • Candidates will be UK / EU fee-payers due to the level of funding provided.

In addition to these criteria, candidates will need a letter of support from their employer demonstrating how the employer is willing to support the candidate in their studies (further information below). Please note that the scheme is not intended for candidates who are employed by other universities.

What support is the employer expected to provide?

Employers are expected to provide support in some tangible way, such as additional funding for research-related expenses, time for study, access to facilities, mentoring, etc.

How would candidates and employers benefit from the award and the resulting PhD?

These awards are aimed at addressing two of the main challenges faced by part-time PhD students who are in employment:

  • Finding the funding to cover the cost of their fees
  • Getting support from their employers, particularly in terms of time for study and attending the University for supervision or training sessions.

Candidates get the support they need to research an area that is relevant to their employment but also of personal interest and helps with their ongoing career development.

Employers benefit from having candidates conduct research on a topic that is relevant to their organisation, whilst at the same time gaining valuable professional and transferable skills. Such skills include:

  • Analytical thinking and the ability to solve complex problems
  • Ability to understand and synthesise large quantities of information
  • Ability to bring new ideas and innovative approaches to the organisation
  • Project management and organisation skills
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and logical arguments to a range of audiences.
  • The development of a deep level of expertise in an area relevant to the employer's strategic interests.


How to apply

Please read the guidance document here.

In order to apply for an award, candidates should:

  • Seek the support of their employer
  • Contact the relevant School / Department to ensure that they would be prepared to support an application in the proposed area
  • Apply online for a PhD place at Reading. Candidates are advised to do this at least 5 weeks prior to the deadline.
  • Submit the following two documents: a) a completed Wilkie Calvert Studentships application form and b) a letter of support from their employer (see below) by the funding deadline,  These documents should be sent to j.john@reading.ac.uk

Letters of support from employers should be on official letterheads and, in terms of content, should provide a clear indication of support for the employee undertaking part-time PhD study in parallel with their paid work. This could include information on: any expected remission from working duties that will be granted in order to allow the employee to undertake their PhD study; access to any facilities relevant to the employee’s research project; any additional funding that will be made available to the candidate for research-related expenses; access to local mentoring/support during the PhD.


What would happen if a candidate left the employment or substantially changes his or her role during the period of the award?

The continuation of the award, and the ongoing registration as a PhD student, would be reviewed in order to determine whether completion is still feasible given the new circumstances.


Further information:

Please email Dr Joanna John j.john@reading.ac.uk in the first instance.

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