PhD students in the lab

UK Research Council awards for Home/EU students

UK Research Councils have allocated awards or provide the College with funding for specific activity, and full awards (for UK nationals and EU nationals who have taken their first degree in the UK and are normally ordinarily resident within the EEA) cover maintenance and 'home' rate fees. Otherwise, EU nationals are normally eligible for fee support only.

Individuals should visit their prospective department’s website, for the latest funding opportunities available.

Please note that departments will contact you if they wish to nominate you. You must have been offered admission as a postgraduate student in order for your nomination to be forwarded.

EU nationals will remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions for programmes commencing prior to 2021.

EU Fee Rates from 2021

EU students will no longer be able to claim tuition fee loans or the lower EU fee rates for programmes starting from 2021. Continuing students, who commence prior to 2021, will retain their fees and funding for the duration of the programme. For more information please see

More information about Research Council studentships


Residence requirements

There are residence requirements which are mainly in line with Home/EU fee status classification – see the overseas fees liability information and also the relevant guidance on each research council website. In addition, candidates must have applied for admission at Imperial College London, and be holding an offer, at the time of nomination.

Academic qualifications

Candidates must have a good Honours degree from a British academic institution. For a research studentship this must be a first or upper second class Honours degree; for an advanced course studentship, it should be a first or second class Honours degree. Research Councils may also accept qualifications or a combination of qualifications and experience that shows equivalent ability and attainment.

Previous postgraduate training

Research studentships for PhD students

These are normally awarded for not more than three years. The duration of such a studentship will be reduced by a period equal to any previous period of postgraduate training, or of activity equivalent to postgraduate training, undertaken by the student. Exceptions are:

  • Up to one year of any full-time study not supported by UK public funds may be disregarded.
  • Previous postgraduate training may be disregarded when it took the form of a taught course necessary to enable the student to carry out research in a field substantially different from that studied for his/her first degree.

Advanced course studentships for Master's students

Please note that advanced course studentships are not normally awarded to candidates who have recently spent a full-time period in postgraduate training or in an activity equivalent to postgraduate training.

Application procedure

Candidates must be recommended by the institution that nominates them and, in some instances, by the head of the department where they graduated.

The majority of Research Councils award studentships through the heads of departments of universities and colleges where the awards are to be held. The AHRC and ESRC allocate some of their awards through an open competition; however, students cannot apply unless they have departmental support.

Research Councils do not accept applications direct from individual students. Those wishing to be considered for an award should contact the department in which they intend to study. Application forms will then be made available to those students whom the department wishes to nominate.

As a result of increasing competition for awards in recent years, it does not follow that a student who satisfies the eligibility criteria will necessarily be nominated for a studentship by the College nor, if nominated by the College, awarded a studentship by the Research Councils.

Those students who wish to be considered for Research Council support are advised to make an application for admission to the College as soon as possible, paying due regard to the relevant closing date and bearing in mind that they will need to have been accepted by the department well in advance of that time.

Candidates nominated for a studentship (particularly under the CASE award scheme) are advised not to relinquish any post they may be holding until they have received confirmation from the Research Council that the award has been granted. Notification of the results of Research Council Studentships nominations is sometimes delayed until near the start of session.