Current Opportunities

14 Fully-funded PhD Studentships available for Sept 2021

Recruitment for our 2021 cohort is now open
Round 1 closes 4th January 2021


Online event
Introduction to Horizon CDT for Potential Applicants
Professor Steve Benford CDT Director
2-3pm on Wednesday 9th December 2020
Register your interest here:


About the programme

Our EPSRC Creating Our Lives in Data CDT programme aims to establish technologies and methods to enable producers and consumers in the Digital Economy to co-create smarter products in smarter ways, to re-establish trust in the use of personal data. Smarter products combine physical and digital technologies to deliver personalised blends of goods, services and user experiences. These are made through co-creation and data creativity in which consumers actively engage in shaping the products they use.

The EPSRC-supported Centre brings together leading figures from computing and engineering as well as the social sciences, business and humanities from the University of Nottingham; plus researchers from the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University. We are co-funded by EPSRC and over 40 industry, third sector and international partners.

Our students are innovating applications across sectors including consumer goods and food, creative industries, high value products, transport, and health and wellbeing – seeking out new synergies between them. We do not expect that every student will be an expert in all of the areas mentioned above; our aim is to train people to work in transdisciplinary teams, ready to become future leaders in industry, the third sector and academia.

Our innovative four year PhD programme combines research, technical and professional skills training, an internship with a partner organisation, and opportunities for international exchanges. The programme is led by Professor Steve Benford, previously an EPSRC Dream Fellow, Visiting Researcher at Microsoft, the BBC’s first Visiting Professor, and the recipient of four BAFTA nominations; and Professor Sarah Sharples, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, who led the Human Factors Research Group, and is Past President of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics.

Opportunities available

We have 14 fully-funded PhD studentships available for the Horizon CDT 2021 cohort, which will start at the end of September 2021. A  very wide range of themes and partners are available, depending on the applicants interest and previous experience, and this will be discussed as part of the interview process  (for an indication, please see Current Research Themes for  a list of research topics our current students are studying).

Successful candidates will benefit from:

  • A fully-funded four year PhD programme that integrates a leading-edge research project with research training in transdisciplinary skills.
  • An internship with one of our partners and opportunities for international exchange.
  • An enhanced stipend of £17,400 per annum.
  • Being part of a cohort of high achieving PhD researchers.
  • A world class research environment with a proven track record of successful Horizon CDT graduates.
  • Developing highly sought after interdisciplinary skills and experience.


Applicants must be able to demonstrate a capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to qualify for a doctorate.

This normally requires an upper second class honours degree, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.

Under our funding arrangements, Horizon CDT PhD studentships are open to both UK and international candidates, but with a limited number of places available for international candidates. Places cannot be guaranteed to any/all international applicants.  If successful, international candidates would not be expected to make up the difference in fee themselves – other sources of funding would be sought.

For EU and international students whose first language is not English an IELTS average score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element, an acceptable alternative qualification is required – see: University of Nottingham policy on minimum English language entry requirements.

Recruitment process

After the published closing date applications will be reviewed and ranked by a shortlisting committee and candidates will be notified by email regarding the outcome of the shortlisting meeting.  Shortlisted candidates will first be invited to an academic interview at the University of Nottingham.  Candidates who pass the academic interview will also need to pass a partner interview before a studentship offer can be made. The academic interview date is normally advertised, however candidates should be aware partner interviews will be organised following the outcome of the academic interviews therefore the partner interview dates are unknown at this time. Partner interviews are usually carried out via Skype.

How to apply

Please see the How to Apply section.


PhD student experience video

In this short video below, Horizon CDT student Pepita Stringer shares her experiences of studying for a multidisciplinary PhD within the EPSRC Horizon My Life in Data CDT.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Horizon: Creating our Lives in Data is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant reference EP/S023305/1.