ERUK has launched a Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) Grant Scheme with the aim of capacity building the UK epilepsy research environment. ERUK invites applications from research institutes to apply for multiple linked PhD studentships to commence 2021-2023. We welcome applications from both individual research institutes as well as collaborative applications shared across more than one institute. ERUK DTCs may wish to align with other funded training schemes and infrastructure already in place within the research institute(s). Read the news article here


We have updated the guidance for DTC applicants in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. ERUK will continue with the scheme with a revised timeline as set out below.


We have introduced a short letter of intent requirement for applicants planning to submit an application. This will not be assessed. Its purpose is to allow ERUK to plan for the response to the call and deliver grant decisions in March 2021.

The letter of intent should be no longer than two sides of A4, and should include:

  • Names and institutions of principal investigator(s) and primary supervisors (where possible)
  • The number of PhD studentships being applied for
  • An outline of the overarching theme or research aim of the Doctoral Training Centre application, and (where possible) the individually proposed studentships within it

Letters of intent should be submitted by email to
The deadline to submit a letter of intent is 16:00 on 26th October 2020.


We have revised the application to allow for applying institute(s) to request funding for either 2 or 3 PhD studentships. The maximum funding that can be applied for 2 PhD studentships is £166,666, whereas the maximum for 3 studentships is £250,000. The host institute must provide matching funding for the studentships requested from ERUK.


The host institute does not have to offer matched funding but should match the number of PhD studentships being applied for. This should include a stipend not less generous than the amounts set out by ERUK below, student fees, and applicants should show how PhD project costs will be supported.


Applications: currently open

Expression of Interest closing date: 16:00 on 26 October 2020

Application deadline: 16:00 on 21 January 2021

Funding decision: April 2021


Applicants and the studentships named in an ERUK DTC application must be based in the UK and be awarded from a licensed UK higher education institute. Preference will be given to institutions establishing an epilepsy research group, and this will be one of the criteria by which the application will be judged.

Applications may be made by a single institute, or two or more institutes may submit a collaborative application. Collaborative applications must demonstrate how the collaboration will add value to the studentships, for example sharing of training infrastructure, access to jointly held funding, or cross-institutional complementary or multidisciplinary expertise. Collaborative applications should also demonstrate linking of studentships, support for career progression, mentorship, and generic training and skills.

Multiple Doctoral Training Centre Grant applications per institute are allowed, although it is strongly recommended that there are clear differences in the scope of the applications. An individual should not be named as a proposed primary supervisor to more than one application.

Studentships should only be advertised once the award announcement has been made.


ERUK’s DTC Grant applications must use fundamental science or clinical research methods to investigate the causes, diagnosis, or treatment of epilepsy and associated conditions.

Each application must have an overarching theme or research aim and the individually proposed studentships within it should in some way be linked to a common aim or use similar techniques or resources. We are seeking cohesive programmes where there is a clear opportunity for students to interact with each other. Multidisciplinary applications are also welcome. Applications detailing programmes with disparate studentships with no common aim will not be considered for funding.

Applicants should demonstrate the appropriate expertise and experience to support an application. There must be an identified lead investigator (Principal Investigator) who will act as the main point of contact during the application process. It is expected that each individual studentship will have a primary and secondary supervisor. Primary supervisors should be named on the initial application as co-applicants. Secondary supervisors may also be named as co-applicants if known at the application stage. If the application is successful, ERUK must be informed of final supervisory arrangements before each studentship commences.

The DTC Grant application requires applicants to provide a detailed overview of the theme that links the individual studentships. Applicants must also provide the research question and accompanying abstract for each of the proposed studentships (up to 6) that will be offered, to include the proposed value of the work.

If an application is successful, each studentship will require approval by Epilepsy Research UK prior to commencement to ensure it is within the agreed funding remit of ERUK and within the theme of the DTC.


We welcome and encourage named supervisors at different career stages with ranging supervisory experience. The grant should be led by a principal applicant and include named co-applicants/supervisors.

As part of their submission, institutes should detail their approach to a) training for staff who supervise students funded through the DTC Grant, and b) how they will recognise and support the role of postdoctoral researchers in supporting these students.

In accordance with UKRI Guidance, equality and diversity must be promoted in all aspects of the supervisory panel and in the recruitment and career management of students.


Applicants should outline the additional training that PhD students will receive either by 1) integrating into an existing PhD programme or 2) ERUK DTC Grant specific training courses or opportunities.

Download the full Guidance for Applicants here

Download the Application Form here