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Doctoral scholarships

Are you considering applying for a PhD that will focus on a topic addressing a global challenge?

Please note that the application deadline (19 January 2020) has now passed. Information about the 2021 GCDC doctoral scholarship competition will be available in Autumn 2020.

The University of Kent has established the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC) to develop doctoral and postdoctoral research addressing the challenges of economic development and well-being faced by developing countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. GCDC PhD projects are required to meet a specific list of criteria to adhere to Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) stipulations.

The University of Kent is offering ten GCDC doctoral scholarships (3.5 years), starting in the academic year 2020-2021*, and the deadline for all student applications is midnight on Sunday, 19 January 2020.

GCDC scholars (starting in September 2020) will receive the following:

  • An annual stipend at UKRI rates (TBC but was £15,009 for 2019/20)
  • Annual tuition fees at UKRI Home/EU rates (TBC but was £4,327 for 2019/20)
  • A minimum Research Training Support Grant of £1,500 (per year for the first three years of study)
  • Specialised interdisciplinary GCDC cohort training activities

Applicants paying overseas fees can also apply, as four GCDC scholarships will cover annual tuition fees at the international rate. We also anticipate that some academic schools may be able to support successful international applicants financially from their own resources beyond the UKRI level.

*Please note that GCDC PhD students are expected to start in September 2020; applications for an alternative entry month will not be considered. 

Please do not hesitate to contact GCRF Officer, Grace Grussenmeyer, with any questions: kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk.

2020 GCDC Scholarships: more information

Full project descriptions, as well as information on how to apply, is available via the individual project links below.

The GCDC projects for 2020 entry are as follows:

Notes on applying for a GCDC project-led scholarship:

Students applying to a specific GCDC project will not be required to complete an additional scholarship application. When applying, students should follow the process outlined in the individual project pages (please follow the links above).

Please note that the application deadline (19 January 2020) has now passed.

Five of the 2020 GCDC scholarships are student-led awards. This means that students are invited to propose their own projects. In this case, we strongly recommend students contact the supervisor/s they have in mind to discuss their research proposal well ahead of completing a formal application. Staff contact details are available on the relevant schools’ websites.

Notes on applying for a GCDC student-led scholarship:

When applying, student-led applicants should follow the University of Kent’s online application process and complete the GCDC Student-led PhD Scholarship application form available via the Find a Scholarship page. The applicant will be required to provide two statements as a part of the scholarship application form:

  • A GCRF compliance statement (max 500 words) to demonstrate which principal GCRF challenge area(s) the research project will meet, which UN sustainable development goal(s) the project will meet, which specific DAC-list country (or countries) will benefit from the project, how the project will benefit that country/countries and any future benefits to that country/countries (as envisaged at this stage).
  • A 500-word supervisor statement from the potential supervisor/s supporting the student’s application and highlighting how the project meets GCRF funding criteria.

Click here to view the GCRF Compliance Statement checklist.


Please note that the application deadline (19 January 2020) has now passed.