How To Apply

The portal for applications was down over Christmas but has now been fixed. The application deadline has been extended to 08 Jan.

Our recruitment philosophy

INSPIRE seeks excellent prospective research students regardless of their particular scientific background. We aim to recruit the best students rather than to fill particular projects. We put a huge amount of effort into the recruitment process to meet this objective. We expect to receive hundreds of applications and interview around 100 candidates a year. Those candidates invited for interview will typically spend a whole day at NOCS in Southampton, meeting with supervisors and going through the interview process. Additionally, students applying for projects based outside of NOCS at one of the other partner organisations or within the wider University of Southampton are encouraged to arrange with prospective supervisors to visit the potential hosting organisation.

Minimum Academic Eligibility Criteria

BSc/MSci 2:1

and/or Masters (MSc or MRes) at Merit/Distinction level (>60%).

and/or evidence of significant relevant professional experience equivalent to Masters level.


In normal times, those candidates invited for interview spend a whole day at NOCS getting to know the institution, meeting supervisors, and going through the interview process. The activities are likely to take place online this year because of COVID-19. Additionally, students applying for projects based outside of NOCS are encouraged to ask prospective supervisors about the benefits of studying in their organisation.

A list of available INSPIRE projects for Sep 2021 start.

We encourage candidates to list two or three projects in which they are interested with a provisional ranking of preference to help us circulate your application among the pool of potential supervisors. Please submit only one application. Multiple projects can be listed on one application.


INSPIRE studentships are funded by the Natural and Environmental Research Council (NERC). The stipend is in line with RCUK stipend levels. All studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years. Both UK and non-UK candidates are eligible to apply.

EU students coming to the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.


All PhD applications to INSPIRE should be made here.

Potential PhD students are requested to apply using the University of Southampton postgraduate application form, appending the following:

  • curriculum vitae giving details of your academic record and stating your research interests,
  • name two current academic referees together with an institutional email addresses in the Reference section of the application form. On submission of your online application your referees will be automatically emailed requesting they send a reference to us directly by email,
  • your academic transcript and IELTS/TOEFL certificate, if applicable.

As far as possible please upload all documents in pdf format.

Please remember to include a short statement of your research interests and rationale for your choice of project(s) in the Personal Statement section of the application form.

You are encouraged to contact potential supervisors by email to discuss project-specific aspects of the proposed research at an early stage. General enquiries should be directed to the GSNOCS Team by email at:

Timetable and Deadlines

Deadline for applications to be received is 04 January 2021.

Interview dates for successful candidates are:

  • Thursday 18 February 2021
  • Friday 19 February 2021
  • Thursday 25 February 2021
  • Friday 26 February 2021

Please note they are all day events and will be allocated based on interview panel availability.