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UPDATE: Additional SEDarc PhD Studentship for Home Students in Advanced Data Skills (Deadline 20 May 2024)

The main competition for SEDarc studentships for study beginning in September 2024 has now closed. However, an additional competition for home students only who have projects that use advanced data skills is now open with a deadline of  20 May 2024.

This additional competition is open to home applicants who want to conduct a PhD project within an eligible social sciences discipline at Reading (see information below from the main competition for eligible disciplines) that uses advanced data skills. Advanced data skills for this competition are defined in terms of the skills required to fully exploit the increasing volumes of large and complex data in the social sciences. Projects could include analysis of 'big data' (e.g. social media, administrative, transactional and geospatial data) and can use either qualitative and/or quantitative approaches. Candidates for this studentship must demonstrate how they will use advanced data skills in their project proposal.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying to this additional competition, please contact the University's SEDarc Academic Lead Dr Ian Cunnings ( to express interest and to gain further information about the formal application process.


The University of Reading is delighted to be part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc). This Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is a strong consortium of 6 leading universities: Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of Kent, Kingston University, the University of Reading, the University of Surrey, and the University of Sussex.

SEDarc DTP funding allows for innovative doctoral support, including the development of broader skills through a comprehensive training programme, and experience in working outside academia through placements.

Visit the SEDarc website

For entry in September 2024, studentships can be for social science research in the following areas:

Agri-food Economics

Development Studies

Architecture and Built Environment

Business and Management




Geography and Environmental Studies

Politics and International Relations

Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

SEDarc applications will be assessed within five cross-disciplinary, challenge-led themes that span the social sciences:

Living Sustainably Healthy Thriving Communities

Inclusive Economic Growth

Secure, Effective and Trusted Institutions

Transformative Technologies for Society

Interested applicants should discuss with their potential supervisors how their project fits within the SEDarc themes.


What is on offer?

1. Awards of 3.5 years duration to cover PhD fees and a maintenance stipend (living allowance) at the UKRI rate.

For reference, the annual UKRI stipend rate in 2023/24 is £18622.

Please note that 3.5 years of funding is to include a 3-month placement. Placements also have an associated £1000 travel fund. Studentships in which the student does not undertake a placement are for 3.25 years of funding only.

2. A limited number of awards are available which also include a further year of funding to study for a Master’s degree prior to commencing a PhD programme. Only applicants without an existing Social Science Master’s degree may apply for this type of award.


Eligible Master’s programmes at Reading for which it is possible to apply are:

MA Education

MSc by research (Henley Business School)

MSc Language Sciences

MSc Research Methods in Psychology



UK/Republic of Ireland students (who satisfy certain residency criteria which are detailed in the eligibility guidelines) are eligible for awards covering fees at the UK/Republic of Ireland rate and provide a maintenance grant (stipend), the current (2023/24) level of which is £18,622 for full-time study.

Applications are open to UK and International applicants. ESRC funding covers tuition fees at the UK/Republic of Ireland rate; for international candidates offered an ESRC award, the difference between UK/Republic of Ireland and international fees will be covered by the University of Reading. Those awarded a SEDarc studentship are therefore not liable to pay fees. Please note, although International applicants are eligible to apply, due to the nature of the funding of this studentship, a maximum of 30% of SEDarc studentships will be awarded to International students.

Students who have already commenced doctoral study may NOT apply for this funding.


How to apply for these studentships

1. Apply online for a place of admission to a PhD programme at Reading via the RISIS portal.

2. Complete the online Expression of Interest form

3. Prepare a draft SEDarc application.

Once you have completed the Expression of Interest form, we will put you in contact with academics within an appropriate School or Department to discuss your SEDarc application.

To be considered for this studentship, SEDarc applicants must complete a SEDarc application form in addition to the standard PhD application to Reading via the RISIS portal. Interested applicants will be provided with a template of this form once they have been in contact with appropriate academics within their chosen School or Department.

Application deadline

The deadline for expressions of interest is 5 January 2024. The deadline for applications is 12 January 2024. Applicants must have applied to a PhD programme at Reading via RISIS and completed a draft SEDarc proposal by this time.

Selection Process

1. SEDarc applicants must complete an application for PhD study and a draft SEDarc proposal before 12 January 2024.

2. In mid-late January, draft SEDarc proposals will be reviewed within the University of Reading.

3. In early February, a panel will be convened at Reading to select the University’s nominees who will be forwarded to the main SEDarc studentship competition.

4. In early-mid February, nominated candidates will be provided feedback to make final changes to their SEDarc applications.

5. University of Reading SEDarc nominees must submit their SEDarc application to the SEDarc application portal by 16 February 2024.

Successful applicants will be informed by the SEDarc DTP that they are being made awards by early April 2024.

Please note that these dates are provisional and subject to final confirmation.


For further information and advice about these studentships, please contact the Doctoral and Researcher College by emailing the Doctoral Studentships Support Officer .

The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive student community. It supports the gender equality Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter, and champions LGBT+ rights equality.

The University of Reading Equal Opportunities policy applies:

The University of Reading is committed to a policy of equal opportunities and non-discriminatory treatment for all members of its community regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race (to include colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.