Research Council Studentships


There are seven government-funded research councils that offer financial support to postgraduate students. The majority of the awards made by these councils are to students undertaking research degrees, although there are a few awards available to students on taught programmes.

All seven of the UK research councils support academic excellence in their own specific field. As a result of this, research council awards for postgraduate study are regarded as some of the most prestigious postgraduate awards available in academia, and as such are highly sought after. More information about the research councils is available from the Research Councils UK website.


Research council awards for postgraduate study are available to UK and EU residents.  UK students should ordinarily be eligible for a full award and EU students for a fees only award, depending upon a student's fee status.  Further details can be found on the University's webpage about Fee Status. 

From October 2011 onwards universities have had some flexibility and discretion to support the very best students wherever they may come from (EU, international or otherwise) so there may be opportunities arising for those individuals who would not normally meet the eligibility requirements for research council funding.  Please see the specific research council's website for further details:

Value of funding

Full research council awards will cover the cost of tuition fees and also provide a maintenance grant to support students during their studies.  The value of fees and maintenance grant support that is offered to students is defined by the Research Councils UK (RCUK).  For the 2013-14 session the fee rate is £3,900 and minimum doctoral maintenance grant is set at £13,726.

The length of funding offered varies between different research councils but may be based upon study models of 1+3, +3, 2+2 or funding may be offered to research students for a specified period such as 3 years, 3.5 years or 4 years.  Funding may also be offered for part-time study.

In addition to the basic maintenance grant and fees support, some research councils also provide other opportunities for training for funded students, such as a research training support grant, overseas institutional visits, overseas fieldwork, collaborative awards with industry and public sector partners, difficult language training, conference attendance, and work and research placements.

Applying for a research council studentship

The University of Liverpool receives research council funding from all seven research councils to support its postgraduate students across a wide range of disciplines.  Research Council funding is awarded directly from the Research Council to the University and its Schools/Institutes/Departments.  Enquiries and applications must be directed to Schools/Institutes/Departments, and not directly to the Research Councils. Funding opportunities are advertised on our HR Vacancies webpage, on our funding tool and School/Institute/Department websites.  It is a condition of most funding bodies that applicants should hold at least a provisional offer of a place to study at the University before applying.  Many funding bodies have strict deadlines so applicants should explore their options as early as possible.  It should also be noted that funding opportunities are very competitive and are generally given to students that have achieved outstanding academic results and submitted high quality applications.