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Skills & careers

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs)

MRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) provide funding for doctoral training across a broad research range relevant to MRC’s remit, strategic research and skills priorities. DTPs also provide a breadth of professional development training opportunities to enhance the capabilities of doctoral candidates and develop a world-class, highly skilled workforce for the UK.

MRC DTPs are awarded for multiple intake years of students and provide Research Organisations (ROs) with significant flexibility in the use of funds to support doctoral training aligned to the RO’s scientific strategy and strengths.

Note to prospective students interested in applying for a DTP studentship/MRC funding. We do not directly recruit students for our DTPs - please contact the relevant DTP (see below) for details of recruitment, including timescales, deadlines and application processes.

Next Doctoral Training Partnerships Competition

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the current DTP and iCASE awards were extended by one intake year (student intake 2021) and the MRC 2020 DTP competition delayed from April 2020 to February 2021 (for student intake 2022 onwards). The deadline for the MRC 2021 DTP competition is 18 February 2021

To ensure that DTP applications have the capacity and infrastructure to support and deliver a cohort of MRC studentships for the duration of this DTP award, a “Pre-application check” was required for all potential DTP applicants who fell below a cumulative MRC funding threshold of £20 million. This pre-application check took place in February 2020 and outcomes have been communicated to applicants. Please see the MRC Doctoral Training Partnerships 2021 guidance notes (PDF, 229KB) for more information.

Previous DTP funding

The current MRC DTPs (15 DTP awards across 29 institutions) were awarded in 2015 for three intake years (2016-2018) in the first instance, and following a light-touch mid-term review, renewed for a further two intake years (2019-2020). See the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership Allocations table (PDF, 55KB) for full details of allocations.

Prior MRC DTP allocations (until the 2015 intake of students) are published under studentship application success rates.

Conversion of DTP studentships into iCASE studentships

Universities in receipt of an MRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) have the flexibility to convert DTP studentships into iCASE studentships, if appropriate for the project, partners and student. Non-academic partner contributions should adhere to MRC’s current guidelines (PDF, 174KB):

  • an annual cash contribution to the academic partner towards the cost of the project of at least £1,400 per year, for the remainder of the studentship
  • a mandatory cash payment of at least £2,500 per year as a supplement to the stipend, for the remainder of the studentship
  • a cumulative period of no less than three months spent working in the facilities of the industrial collaborator. This three-month period can be at any point during the studentship and may consist of a number of shorter visits if appropriate
  • the company’s costs while the student is working at the premises of the company
  • all additional expenses, such as the cost of travel and accommodation incurred by the student as a direct result of attendance at the premises of the cooperating body.

SMEs are exempt from making cash contributions to stipends and project costs. The MRC DTP flexible supplement can be used to meet these additional costs where the collaborating partner is an SME.