FULLY FUNDED: Rosalind Franklin Institute PhD studentship 2023-24, UK

PhD student

We are accepting applications for the 2023-24 academic year. Please start your application here on our online portal.

Franklin students work on highly interdisciplinary projects across our Subjects, with real-world impact, access to world-leading research leaders, industry collaborations and cutting-edge technologies from the UK and beyond.

Program schedule

Students will be based primarily at our Franklin center in Harwell for the duration of their PhD.

Students will enroll in their first year at our training partner, the University of Edinburgh. After completing training, including Edinburgh and Franklin specific training in our Topics, students will choose a 12-week research project from a catalog of possible projects. These projects will be highly innovative projects centered around Franklin technologies and will be in collaboration with university scientists. Following the assessment of this Y1 project, students will register for years 2-4 at their supervisor’s university, which will be the awarding body for their degree.

Click here for a detailed program overview.


The Franklin PhD program is fully funded for four years, to which successful students will be offered:

  • Tax-free scholarship every year for four years
  • ‘Home’ tuition fees for all degrees*
  • All associated project, conference and publication costs
  • Free bus travel or free parking
  • Free shared student societies / club membership from the University of Oxford to a college (please note this does not include university accommodation and our students will not be enrolled at Oxford University)

“Home” students are defined as citizens of the UK and Ireland, have EU settled status, EU pre-settled status or have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

Franklin Culture

It is important for PhD students to maintain a healthy work-life balance and support their mental and physical health.

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is located on the Harwell Campus, which has a number of specialist research institutions, some of which have their own PhD students, and local services including a dentist, gym and sports leagues and teams. As well as active LGBTQ+ and Green networks, there is also a ‘Nxt Gen’ program specifically for early career researchers, and they often host social events. We also have subsidized access to the RAL canteen and coffee outlets on campus that offer a variety of hot and cold food options.

The Harwell Campus is located in Oxfordshire, with frequent and direct transport links to Oxford via bus, train and the A34. Students will have access to bus travel serving Oxford and Oxfordshire, a bike-to-work space, free electric car charging points and free parking at the Harwell Campus. You can find local amenities here.

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As PhD students at Franklin, successful applicants will also be eligible to join and participate in societies at Oxford University College. Internally, our institution offers an active social committee and Early Careers Leader to support students throughout their stay with us. PhD students will be entitled to 25 days annual leave, including bank holidays and additional leave at Christmas.


We aim to provide an environment for students and staff to develop personally and professionally, and to support our students in their next steps – whatever the field. Franklin students will have access to learning resources from a variety of sources – the Franklin community, our academic staff at the Harwell Campus, our Y1 partner the University of Edinburgh and our university partners over years 2-4. We believe in a strong research culture that our staff and students can take with them into their future careers.

Franklin students will participate in advanced research skills, engaging Topic-specific activities designed especially for early-career researchers, and expand knowledge across a variety of disciplines. Training materials will be available during their stay at Franklin.

Embracing the high ideals we hold ourselves to at Franklin, as well as following the recommendations of Leading Routes, an organization dedicated to creating inclusive environments in higher education and academia, we are pleased to include the following activities in our PhD program:

Transparent and detailed recruitment process

Applicants can find all the information they need for the recruitment process on The Franklin website, including key dates, guidance on what to include in the personal statement and how to select an appropriate referee. There is also one Questions section for other inquiries. Please contact us for further questions train@rfi.ac.uk.

Limiting unconscious bias

We have developed a recruitment round where only the most open-minded and enthusiastic students can be shortlisted for an interview based on their potential and abilities. To facilitate this, the panel of assessors reviewing Franklin PhD applications will have no knowledge of the applicant’s gender, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, caring responsibilities, immigration status, socioeconomic background, or age. This information will only be available to non-assessed employees to understand applicant demographics and better target groups that we are currently unable to reach with our engagement campaigns.

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No resume

PhD applications, and indeed jobs in the wider world, present points of assessor bias or preference. This is because there are changes in how applicants structure their CV or what information they choose to include in this document. In order to reduce subtle discrimination and simplify the application process, we have created a standardized online application form that will be fair to everyone.

Fully funded Ph.D

Our PhD students will receive an extended living allowance tax-free. This does not need to be returned. This allowance means that our students will not require a paid internship or part-time job and will be able to focus on their projects without worrying about living expenses. In addition, they will be given additional benefits such as free parking or travel allowance for the daily commute to the Franklin center (whichever may be convenient for them).

Various interview panels

Franklin’s proud commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion means that each PhD interview will feature a mixed-gender panel of scholars from our Research Themes, including researchers from different career stages.

Not using the umbrella term ‘BAME’

Although developed as a tool to collect data on ethnic minorities in education, the workplace, health and society in general, the ‘BAME’ community statistics [Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic] during this period it may misrepresent the frequencies of individual groups. The use of this collective term implies that the issue of underrepresentation of certain groups within the academy is not addressed in a targeted manner.

Therefore, we will not use this term when describing our staff or student populations in our PhD programs and wider recruitment strategies. We will continue to collect data on ethnicity and use it both to report to our funders and to improve our internal practices.

A team of supervisors

Gone are the days of students interacting with a single PhD supervisor. Franklin students will be supervised by a team of supervisors, including Franklin scientists and staff from the partner university on the PhD project. This provides our students with a key opportunity to learn from and be supported by many scholars with diverse expertise and to enhance their experience of the program.

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Career guidance and development paths

The old rhetoric of “academia or industry” choices for PhD graduates is completely out of step with the new technology and research happening every day at Franklin. From postdoctoral fellows to data scientists and policymakers, our unique program will shape students into innovative, holistic thinkers, independent scientists who will be ready to step into their chosen careers with hands-on mentorship and hands-on guidance. support.

Monitoring of events and optimization of processes

At Franklin, we aim to continue to push the boundaries and welcome good practices wherever we find them. Monitoring these initiatives helps us gauge what we need to work on to increase the interest, engagement and applications of underrepresented individuals in academia and research. Analyzing who applies (and succeeds) in our PhD recruitment shows us how to reach (and support) applicants from across the UK, from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Eligibility and entry requirements

We are looking for open-minded candidates who want to develop and use Franklin technologies in new, interdisciplinary research covering our various scientific topics. We welcome candidates from any science, math, computing or engineering background.

To be considered for this program, each applicant must have (or be on track to have):

  • first class or 2:1 degree in a relevant subject or
  • Any qualification equivalent to the above in a relevant subject from a UK or international higher education institution.

If English is not your first language, please note that you must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to 7.0 in the IELTS exam with a minimum score of 6.0 in each individual component. (We will ask successful candidates for this after the interview.)

To apply you will need:

Applications are now open for our PhD program through our online portal. To complete and submit a PhD application, you will need the following information:

  • Your contact information
  • Contact details of the two academic referees (please click here for suggestions on how to select a suitable referee)
  • Education and relevant work experience
  • Degree transcripts and degree certificate (if applicable)
  • Research experience
  • Personal statement 800 word limit (please click here for input instructions)

Please email us if you have any questions train@rfi.ac.uk.

Source / Details: Official website HERE.

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