The funding process
Securing funding to support graduate study is a separate (though related) procedure to the academic application. There are a number of funding opportunities available, but all are very competitive. It is not unusual for applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place to find themselves without the necessary funds to actually commence their study.
Below are just some of the possible funding routes to join the Department for graduate study, but it is not a complete list - often students come here on scholarships from their home country, or funded by charities or other sponsors.
- (Gates, COT, CET, CISS, CHESS) of Cambridge
- The Claire Barnes Studentship in Zoology
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) DTP
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) DTP
- Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD Programme in Developmental Mechanisms
- and Bursaries
Funding offered by the University of Cambridge
All eligible applicants will be automatically considered for funding from the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, and the Cambridge Home and European Scholarship Scheme (CHESS) provided they:
- apply for admission to the Department by the appropriate
- tick the box on the graduation admissions application form ("GRADSAF") relating to the funding for which you would like to be considered.
For more information about these funding schemes, please consult the funding pages of the Graduate Admissions website.
A PhD studentship, covering College Fee and University Composition Fee at the Home/EU rate, a stipend at the RCUK rate for 4 years, and £5k pa towards research costs for 3 years, is offered at the Department to start in October 2015. Candidates must carry out research that is relevant to the biology and ecology of Asia and is consistent with the interests of one of our research groups.
Eligibility: Candidates of any nationality/residency may apply, but a successful Overseas applicant would need to secure additional funds from other sources to cover the higher fee level (c. £16k pa).
Claire Barnes (Clare College, 1976) writes:
“I have been fortunate to spend my working life in Asia during an era of rapid economic growth. As a traveller and keen diver, I have visited some of the world's most magical places, and have also witnessed unprecedented ecological change and destruction. Losses of habitat, biodiversity, and traditional local knowledge are all of concern; and regional education systems often equip their graduates with little understanding of the natural world. Meanwhile, the amateur naturalist marvels at the number of species yet to be documented and of topics yet to be studied. I would like to encourage zoological studies in Asia, and to strengthen scholarly and personal ties between the UK and Asia.”
All eligible candidates will be automatically considered for this studentship, provided they have applied for admission to the Department of Zoology for a PhD (following the normal application process) by 9th January 2015. Interviews are likely to be held towards the end of February 2015.
Please note that to be considered, you must also have uploaded your CV and research proposal by this date.
Those who have applied to the BBSRC DTP and/or the Wellcome Trust 4-Year Programme can also be considered (without the need for a separate application to Zoology) provided that your potential supervisor is based in the Department of Zoology. You will need to inform the graduate administrator by 9th January 2015 that this is the case, and that you wish to be considered for a Departmental Studentship. You will also need to send a 1-2 page research proposal.
The University of Cambridge and Partner Institutes have a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Grant from BBSRC, providing 4-year fully funded studentships under the four broad themes of Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health; Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology; Food Security; and World Class Underpinning Bioscience.
UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements are eligible for a full studentship. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only BBSRC award, and a stipend from the School of Biological Sciences. Further information about eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
NB If you wish to be considered for a BBSRC-funded studentship you will need to apply to the BBSRC DTP course code. If you would also like to be considered by the Department for either a NERC or Departmental Studentship, you must inform the Graduate Administrator, by the relevant deadline, who will obtain a copy of your application documents from the BBSRC DTP administrator. You will also need to send a 1-2 page research proposal.
Overseas students are not eligible to receive studentships from Research Councils, but can apply for University-wide funding schemes such as the Gates Cambridge Trust and the Cambridge Overseas & Commonwealth Trust. Overseas students can also apply for funding to support their studies from their home countries or international schemes.
The University of Cambridge is offering up to nineteen 3.5-year NERC funded studentships starting in October 2015. Several people in the Department of Zoology are members of the Biology Theme, and can therefore supervise a student funded via this programme. Specific projects are listed below, but you may also propose your own project. Full information on how to apply, and the projects available, can be found on the Cambridge Earth System Science DTP website.
Those who have applied to the BBSRC DTP and/or the Wellcome Trust 4-Year Programme can also be considered for the NERC DTP (without the need for a separate application to Zoology) provided that your potential supervisor is based in the Department of Zoology. You will need to inform the graduate administrator by 9th January 2015 that this is the case, and that you wish to be considered for one of our NERC projects.
2015-16 projects with supervisors in Zoology:
B101: Palaeontological and developmental approaches for resolving vertebrate phylogenetics and character evolution (Lead Supervisor: Robert Asher, Zoology)
B102: Food for the future? Quantifying the environmental, health and economic impacts of farming and eating insects (Lead Supervisor: Andrew Balmford, Zoology)
B103: The Impact Of Exposure To Nature On Human Wellbeing (Lead Supervisor: Andrew Balmford, Zoology)
B117: Biomechanics and ecology of insect-plant interactions: the role of “wax barriers” in Macaranga-ant mutualisms (Lead Supervisor: Walter Federle, Zoology)
B118: Trapping fluids of carnivorous pitcher plants: ecology and biomechanics (Lead Supervisor: Walter Federle, Zoology)
B122: Conservation Applications Of Molecular Genetic Population Size Reconstructions Of European Birds (Lead Supervisor: Rhys Green, Zoology)
B124: The sexy smells of tropical butterflies: Genetics of pheromones and female choice (Lead Supervisor: Chris Jiggins, Zoology)
B127: Non-genetic inheritance in polyandrous genetic mating systems: can males influence offspring characteristics through their seminal fluid proteins alone? (Lead Supervisor: Rebecca Kilner, Zoology)
B141: The evolutionary consequences of information: predators vs. prey (Lead Supervisor: Rose Thorogood, Zoology)
B143: What is the importance of pollinators for wild plant communities? (Lead Supervisor: William Sutherland, Zoology)
Many of the Zoology research groups working in the area of evolutionary and also developmental biology participate in this interdisciplinary programme (see list here). This Wellcome Trust funded programme recruits annually from students world wide, offering five fully funded studentships, including one to overseas candidates. Full information about the programme structure, eligibility and how to apply can be found on the programme website.
NB If you would also like to be considered by the Department for a Departmental Studentship, you must inform the Graduate Administrator, by the relevant deadline, who will obtain a copy of your application documents from the Programme administrator. You will also need to send a 1-2 page research proposal.
A number of Colleges offer part or full scholarships for graduate students, but they are very competitive. They often have specific eligibility criteria (for example nationality or subject) - the Cambridge Funding Search is a good place to start, but is not an exhaustive list, therefore you would also need to check individual College websites if you wish to make a College choice on this basis (you usually need to list the College as first choice in your application for them to consider you for a scholarship).