How to Apply

Horizon CDT PhD Studentships for Sept 2021 Entry

The CDT is now accepting applications for September 2021 entry.  The deadline for round 2 applications is 11:59pm on 5th April 2021, however early application is recommended.

Online event

Introduction to Horizon CDT for Potential Applicants (for Home/UK applicants)
Presentation and Q and A session with CDT Director Professor Steve Benford
2-3pm, 23rd February 2021
Register your interest here:


Before you apply

Please read the guidance on this page carefully to give your application the best chance of success.


For 2021 entry round 2 onwards we can only accept applications from UK Home candidates (for a full definition of UK Home status see “Student Eligibility” section in the UKRI Training Grant Guidance).

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.

About the Horizon CDT PhD programme

The Horizon CDT PhD programme is not a “traditional” PhD. Please review the information on the Horizon CDT website so you understand how our programme works.  In particular we recommend you review:

Summary of our recruitment process

Approximately 14 fully funded studentships are available each year to start in late September. The CDT usually recruits over 2 or 3 rounds of applications beginning in November.

Eligible complete applications received by the deadline are assessed and ranked by a shortlisting panel against our assessment criteria (see below) to produce a shortlist of candidates to be invited for academic interview (due to the current COVID the interview may take place online).

Following a successful academic interview, the CDT will then seek to “match” candidates with a theme and external partner (based on the candidates’ interests and experience).  Partner interviews are usually carried out online.  The CDT will make every effort to match candidates with suitable partners, but this cannot be guaranteed. An offer can only be made after a successful interview with an external partner.

* Application Assessment Criteria

Eligible candidates are assessed by a multidisciplinary shortlisting/interview panel and should demonstrate:

  • Potential to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to qualify for a doctorate.
  • Evidence of prior thinking around the challenges of the CDT topic focus
  • An interest in and potential for inter-disciplinary research.
  • An interest in and potential to work well with external partners.

Applying to the CDT

All applications must be made online before the advertised deadline. Please check that you have included all the required documentation and evidence with your application, otherwise we will not be able to include your application in our shortlisting process which begins immediately after the closing date. We recommend early application.

In your application, you must include:

  • A Curriculum Vitae (for candidates without a 2:1 at undergraduate degree level, you must include evidence of a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.
  • Copies of degree certificates/transcripts
  • A Personal Statement.  Please provide a personal statement of no more than 2 pages in length which should be uploaded with the application. It should address the criteria for assessment above and include: a brief statement of your research interests, how they relate to the Horizon CDT’s research themes, and why you are applying to this particular programme. (please see the Research section to see wide range of research themes our current students are studying).
  • Supply contact details of 2 referees on the application form, at least one of whom must be an academic.

You do not need to identify a supervisor or include a research proposal with your application as the project and the supervisory team will be formulated during the first year. However if you are interested in a very specific theme, please indicate this in your personal statement.

Step by Step Instructions

We can only accept applications made online through the MyNottingham system.  Please contact the CDT Manager if this will present difficulties.

  1. Open MyNottingham – (if you have difficulties try again later and/or try a different browser).
  2. If you are a current or recent University of Nottingham student, log in using your username and click on Applications. If you are not a UoN student, click on the Apply for a Course button and create an account on the applications system (noting the username/ID and password you choose).  You will receive a confirmation email, simply follow the link in the email back to MyNottingham, enter your new Username and password and click Sign In.
  3. Click on Make/New Application, to start your application to the Horizon CDT. Please carefully select the following options:
    • Campus: United Kingdom
    • Course level: Postgraduate Research
    • Select your Term: 2021 Academic Year
    • In search for a course of study, enter Horizon as a keyword and click Search.
    • Select Doctor of Philosophy – Digital Economy Horizon CDT
    • Choose Full time (please contact the CDT if you wish to study part time)
    • Select your start date: 1st October (please note, the programme’s Welcome Week begins Monday 20th September 2021 – you will need to be available from 20th September.
  1. Click Confirm Selection
  2. Now enter your personal details and other information in the relevant sections of the form (click Save after completing each section).

Important Notes

    • Research Details – please enter “Not required for CDT applications” in the “Research Topic” and “Topic Description” fields – the rest should be left blank.
    • Personal Statement – although it is possible to complete an online personal statement here, we recommend that applicants to the CDT upload a Personal Statement document in Supporting Documents, which is tailored to the CDT as described above. Applications cannot be considered without a personal statement.
    • References – Contact details of at least 2 references are required here, at least one of the references must be from an academic referee.
    • Supporting Documents – please upload a CV, Personal Statement, and copies of certificates/transcripts and other documents relevant to the application. A research proposal is not required.
  1. When you have entered all the required information, click Submit Application.

What happens next

You will receive an email from Admissions confirming your application has been successfully submitted the following day.  Please check your Spam folder if you don’t receive it.

The University Admissions Team or the CDT Manager may contact you to provide missing/further information. Please respond promptly to ensure your application can be reviewed by the shortlisting committee. If the information is received too late, we may not be able to consider your application for this recruitment round.

Please let your referees know that the University will shortly be contacting them for a reference, and suggest they to check their Spam folder if the email does not appear in due course.

You will be informed of the result of your application by email approximately 4 weeks after the closing date.