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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.

2020 competition

The next DTP competition will take place in 2020, for student intake 2021. This call will be open from 12th March 2020 with a closing date of 23rd April 2020. Shortlisted applications will be invited to interview week commencing 15th June 2020.

A pre-application check is required from all DTP applications that fall below a cumulative MRC funding threshold of £20M (three-year period from 2016/17 to 2018/19, excluding studentship training grants, capital awards or strategic institute funding). This pre-application check should be submitted via email (Students@mrc.ukri.org) by 6th February 2020 at 4pm.

ROs who meet the cumulative MRC‑funding threshold are not required to submit this pre‑application check and can proceed to a full MRC DTP application. See MRC Doctoral Training Partnerships 2020 guidance notes for full details.

A webinar will be held by the MRC on Thursday 9th January (4-5pm) to provide the opportunity to find out more information about this competition. Please contact Students@mrc.ukri.org to request dial-in details for this webinar. This webinar will be recorded and made publicly available.

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.