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The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science awards around 50 ESRC-funded studentships annually across the Student-led ‘Open’ competition and the Supervisor-led ‘Steers’ and ‘Collaborative’ competitions.

Twelve studentships are for specific ‘steer’ awards which the ESRC has granted SGSSS. These steers reflect the strength of Scotland’s research community in data skills and interdisciplinarity. 

Student-led Competition

Students can apply to the  Open Competition with their own PhD topic proposal, supported by the potential supervisor and host institution. The 2020/21 competition launched in November 2020 with a closing deadline of 7 January 2021. 

Collaborative Competition and SDS Collaborative Competition (supervisor-led)

Supervisors apply with proposals for PhD projects via the Collaborative or SDS Collaborative Competitions.  

  • The Collaborative Competition is for studentships that are developed with an external partner. The partner needs to contribute to the studentship, either financially or in-kind. Successful supervisors then advertise for a student to undertake the awarded PhD. 
  • The SDS Collaborative Competition is a unique partnership with Skills Development Scotland, whereby supervisors will submit proposals linked to strategic topics developed by SDS.  

The Collaborative and SDS Collaborative competitions run to the same timeline. Applications for supervisors opened in September 2020 with a deadline to apply in October 2020. The SGSSS will then award studentships for the supervisors to advertise from December 2020. 

ESRC Steers Competition (supervisor-led)

The ESCR Steers competition invites applications from supervisors that are connected to our three main steers: 

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods 
  • Use of data sets 
  • Interdisciplinary  

The ESRC Steers Competition is a two-stage process for supervisors. The competition opened in September 2020 with supervisors invited to submit expressions of interest. Successful applicants were then invited to submit a full proposal in November 2020. The SGSSS will send final award outcomes in January 2021 with the expectation that the resulting studentships will be advertised by February 2021. 

More Information

Details on eligibility for ESRC PhD studentships can be found here. The below tiles will provide updates on each of the competitions as they go live.