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Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI)

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The first intake of students will be in September 2022, applications for the first intake closed on March 2, 2022. 
Applications for spaces to start in September 2023 will open in late 2022/early 2023. Please click here to register your interest and receive relevant updates.

We offer

  • 4 year fully funded PhD studentship with an industry placement (between 3 and 18 months)
  • Comprehensive training at the intersection between computer and biological sciences
  • Stipend of £17,609/year and additional funding to cover travel to conferences and workshops. Our industry partners will pay a stipend top-up during the period of the industry placement.

Note that applications will be for full-time positions but we are going to consider requests for part-time.

Who we are looking for


We welcome applications from candidates who hold a masters degree at distinction or first class level, or equivalent, in Computer Science, Bioinformatics / Computational Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biology, Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry or other relevant field. We accept applicants with a first class Bachelors degree who do not hold a Masters degree, provided the applicants provide evidence of equivalent research experience, industry experience, or specialist training.
Programming skills are strongly desirable; however we do not consider this to be an essential criterion if candidates have complementary strengths.

We appreciate all talent and skills, and we welcome applicants of all backgrounds and identities. Our applications are open to both home and international students who meet the programme entry criteria. We can allocate up to 30% of our places to International Students; this is in line with the UKRI student eligibility criteria, as detailed in the UKRI Postgraduate funding guide. As per UKRI guidelines, Research Organisations bear full responsibility for appropriately identifying the correct fee and eligibility status for their candidates.

To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria set out in the UKRI Training Grant Terms & Conditions:

  • 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 a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.
Guidance and full information are available in the UKRI website, here (see TGC 5.2 and Annex B of the "UKRI Training Grant Guidance" document)

If you obtained your qualifications outside of the UK, check country/region specific information here

English Language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of their English language ability, in line with QMUL admissions policy for postgraduate research programmes (see here). The minimum requirements for the AIDD Doctoral training programme are:

  • IELTS Academic:5 overall including 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking. 
  • TOEFL:92 overall including 21 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • PTE Academic/PTE Academic UKVI:62 overall including 57 in Writing and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking. 
  • Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE):Trinity ISE II with a Distinction in Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking, or Trinity ISE III with a minimum of Pass in Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • C2 Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE):176 overall including 169 in Writing, and 162 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • C1 Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE):176 overall including 169 in Writing, and 162 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

For information on alternative English language qualifications see here

Selection criteria

Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate:

  • A very good academic record, with good grades or distinction.
  • Strong motivation to pursue a PhD degree, for example through evidence of seeking research experience and a well-articulated personal statement.
  • We will look for evidence of independence, maturity, initiative, fortitude, perseverance, enthusiasm and other personality traits that are important when pursuing a PhD. This evidence will come from your CV, your personal statement and your interview.
  • Applicant's achievements will be considered within the context of their individual circumstances.

How to apply

You will need to complete an online application form to which you will have to upload the following documents:

  • Copy of your degree/s

  • CV

  • Certificate of English Language ability, if required (IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent as per above)

  • A Research Statement, this should be a 1-page document indicating:
    - why you are interested in this PhD programme
    - your top 2 favourite projects from the list of available projects (see here)
  • A Personal Statement, explaining why you think you are the right candidate for this programme. If you want to pursue your PhD training on a part-time basis please indicate this in your personal statement and explain why you think this is the best option for you.

  • Two References

A GUIDE on how to complete the application form is available here. Please note that the online application form will not be accessible on February 12 & 13, 2022 due to system maintenance.

After submitting your application form, our management team will contact you asking to complete a Diversity Form, this is to collect additional information for equality and diversity monitoring.

Frequently asked questions

We have put together this list of Frequently asked questions based on enquiries received for other doctoral training programmes. If your question isn’t answered here please drop us a line at deri@qmul.ac.uk and one of our management team will get back to you as soon as possible. We will update this list of FAQs with all the queries we receive.

What fees do I have to pay?
International and home postgraduate student fees are covered by the studentships in full. We have limited number of places for international PhD students, in line with requirements from our funder.

Can the studentship be undertaken part time?
Requests for undertaking PhD research part-time can be considered. Note that this will extend the overall duration of your PhD training (for example from 4 to 8 years if you pursue the programme with 50% time dedication). If you want to pursue your PhD training on a part-time basis, please make sure to indicate this in your personal statement and explain us why you think this is the best option for you.

Is this programme available remotely?
This is not a distance learning programme, students are expected to be living in the UK throughout the programme in order to attend some courses, training and industry placements in person.

How does the industry placement work?
Industry placements will last between 3 and 18 months, all the details will be agreed in due course with your academic and industry supervisors. Travel and accommodation costs for the placement will be covered by the company, you will also receive a salary top-up throughout the duration of the placement.

Application closed

Application will re-open in late 2022/early 2023

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