Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Host PhD studentships using linked administrative data

Apply to host PhD studentships focused on quantitative research using linked administrative data.

Applications are open only to existing ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

This opportunity is not open to direct applications from students or from institutions that are not part of an existing ESRC DTP.

ESRC DTP Directors will be responsible for coordinating the application process.

Each ESRC DTP can apply for funding to host up to four PhD studentships. Funding is available for up to 20 PhD studentships located anywhere in the UK, starting in autumn 2023.

Who can apply

Only existing ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) are eligible to apply for this opportunity.

ESRC currently funds 14 DTPs comprised of 73 high quality research organisations.

ESRC DTP Directors will be responsible for coordinating the application process for up to four supervisor-led PhD studentships each across their partnership. This opportunity is not open to direct applications from students or institutions that are not part of an existing ESRC DTP.

What we're looking for

ADR UK is offering funding for existing ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) to host PhD studentships focused on quantitative research using linked administrative data.

Administrative data covers a wide range of topics and therefore applications will be considered from both within and beyond the social sciences. You are encouraged to consider the ADR UK mission and flagship datasets in your proposal.

Refer to the ‘ADR UK linked datasets brochure’ in the ‘Additional info’ section for information about the data, its research potential, and supporting materials such as synthetic data, training opportunities and user networks. The linked administrative datasets featured in this brochure form an exciting first collection of rich, curated data fit for use by researchers across all career levels.

Studentships that are not based on administrative data are not eligible for this funding.

Applicant webinar

ADR UK will host a webinar for applicants on 20 September 2022, which will include more information on the application process, as well as an opportunity for questions to be asked. Register for the webinar (Eventbrite).

Information for supervisors

While you are welcome to host studentships using any research-ready administrative dataset, those that plan to use one of ADR UK’s flagship linked datasets will be prioritised.

You should consider your own strengths and weaknesses regarding data analysis and interpretation. Datasets can include a variety of data ‘states’. For example, some datasets are well-curated and have already been used for early research, meaning that some code could be available to build on. Other datasets are more ‘raw’ and research using these will include improving the data and learning its idiosyncrasies. You should:

  • carefully consider these factors before deciding what kind of research you are prepared to support
  • provide details about how you can support students depending on which datasets you expect to access through this opportunity.

Funded students will be the responsibility of the ESRC DTP and subject to the same terms and conditions as students funded directly by ESRC.

Funding

Total funds available for this opportunity will be approximately £1.9 million.

ADR UK expects to be able to fully fund 20 studentships, but the DTP could co-fund the studentships through their existing allocation or other sources. Although co-funding is not necessary, it may be viewed as an indication of the commitment of the DTP or other institutions involved. To discuss options for co-funding, email hub@adruk.org

Funding will be provided on the basis of the annual notional cost of a studentship and the proposed duration of the studentships. Eligible costs also include:

  • enhanced stipend of £1000 per student per year
  • a three-month placement.

Timing and duration

The cohort of students selected through this opportunity is expected to start in October 2023.

Studentships can be held on a range of different structures, for example:

  • one plus three (Masters followed by a PhD)
  • plus three (PhD only)
  • four-year (integrated training programme) basis.

The actual length of studentships will depend on the:

  • structures available on the pathway
  • students’ prior training.

How to apply

ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) can apply for up to a total of four supervisor-led studentships each across their partnership and are responsible for coordinating the application process.

Applications must be submitted by the DTP Director by email to hub@adruk.org

What to submit

You will need to complete and submit both of the following:

  • form A: to be completed by the Director of the DTP coordinating the process (one form per DTP)
  • form B: to be completed by supervisors looking to host PhD studentships (one form per studentship, up to a total of four forms across the DTP).

Forms can be downloaded from the ‘Additional info’ section.

Form A

To be completed by the DTP Director on behalf of the DTP partnership.

Information to be provided includes:

  • DTP’s current strengths in quantitative research, analysis, and training
  • existing experiences using administrative data
  • rationale for hosting studentships using linked administrative data
  • student recruitment process
  • plans for contributing to the growing community of administrative data researchers.

Form B

To be completed by the relevant supervisor or supervisors.

Each studentship will need its own form. As DTPs can apply for up to four studentships, up to four forms can be submitted.

Individual supervisors can apply for multiple studentships. However, each application must address different research topics and questions. Supervisors must consult with their DTP Director before applying to ensure the DTP does not exceed the maximum total of four applications across the partnership.

Information to be provided includes:

  • prior experiences supervising PhD students
  • supervisory capabilities using linked administrative data
  • areas for training for the supervisor, the prospective student, or both
  • desired datasets and how they will complement research topics and questions.

Deadline

Completed application packages must be emailed by the DTP Director to hub@adruk.org by 16:00 UK time on 21 October 2022.

Applications must be coordinated and submitted by the DTP on behalf of its partnership.

How we will assess your application

Assessments and funding decisions will be made by a specially convened panel which will include:

  • a former ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Director
  • experts in administrative data
  • representatives from the Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) partnership.

Assessment will focus on:

  • fit to the opportunity, including:
    • alignment to the ADR UK mission to enable vital research that realises the potential of administrative data to lead to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services across various disciplines
    • alignment to the ADR UK Training and Capacity Building Strategy to support researchers trained to analyse complex linked administrative datasets
  • the quality of the research environment and training provision
  • supervisory arrangements, including supervisor capacity and expertise to host studentships focused on quantitative research using linked administrative data
  • the student recruitment process including the approach to attracting candidates from under-represented groups
  • plans for contributing to the community of administrative data researchers.

Funding decisions are expected to be communicated before the end of the 2022 calendar year.

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity

ADR UK Strategic Hub

Email: hub@adruk.org

Include ‘ADR UK PhD Studentships’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within three to five working days.

Additional info

ADR UK is an ESRC investment which plays an important role in transforming the way researchers access the UK’s wealth of public sector data.

By joining up the abundance of administrative data already created by government and public bodies across the UK and making it available for researchers in a safe and secure way, ADR UK is enabling vital research that has the potential to lead to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services.

Since 2018, ADR UK has made significant advances in making de-identified administrative data easier for researchers to access securely. There is now an impressive collection of new flagship datasets available through ADR UK’s trusted research environments across the UK.

ADR UK is developing further resources including:

  • explainer videos
  • training courses
  • synthetic data which can be used to develop and test code
  • communities of practice in which researchers can share ideas.

Supporting documents

ADR UK PhD studentships call specification (PDF, 345KB)

ADR UK linked datasets brochure: September 2022 (PDF, 4.9MB)

ADR UK PhD studentships applicant guidance (PDF, 492KB)

Application form A: for Doctoral Training Partnerships (DOCX, 45KB)

Application form B: for supervisors (DOCX, 46KB)

UK Research and Innovation equality impact assessment form (PDF, 145KB)

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