Find out about the E4 selection process, its recruitment timing and past applications numbers.
The E4 Selection Process
The E4 selection process comprises different stages which are illustrated in the following flowchart and described in details below.
1. Application Stage
All applications are submitted to the E4 admissions team. Applications are screened for eligibility criteria and completeness. Information relating to equality and diversity monitoring as well as widening participation consideration are separated and removed before applications are forwarded for assessment.
International applicants must get formal approval from the lead supervisor of the project they apply for before sending their application material. To this end, it is strongly advised that they get in touch with the prospective supervisor as early as possible and ideally by the 1st of December.
2. Supervisor Selection
Supervisors review all applications and can select up to 2 candidates (or 3 if a project applied for is CASE funded) from their pool of applicants (both home and international). The widening participation panel may propose that a supervisor can put forward a 3rd or 4th candidate for consideration where relevant.
3. Shortlisting Panels
After the supervisors have nominated their preferred candidates, the shortlisting panels review and score all the nominated applications against the following criteria: academic ability, scientific skills, wider skills activities, scientific statement and references. The widening participation panel has overview of this process and can make additional recommendations.
The top 60-70 applicants* are then invited for an interview which focusses on past research, future research and a wider discussion of science, its purpose and how best to do it. The interview is scored completely separately from the written application.
5. Studentships Offers
The top ~25 applicants* are offered a place based on their combined score (written application and interview).
*Proportionally to the NERC cap for international students
We value applications from students from a wide range of background and aim to give equality of opportunity to all our applicants by supporting applicants who declare that they are part of one of our under-represented groups (see our Widening Participation form as part of our application process). We also value professional experience and do not set a Master’s degree as a condition to apply (although we will take all degrees into consideration).
Indicative Recruitment timeline
Student-led Projects Submission Deadline
Outcome sent via email by
First Offers sent by
Universal NERC DTP acceptance of offers date (before which candidates are not obliged to accept any NERC-funded PhD offer)
|3rd Wed of March|
Applications numbers in previous years
|Recruitment stages||All Applicants||Nominated by supervisors||Interviewed||Appointed|
|Recruitment year||Home Applicants||International Applicants||Home Applicants||International Applicants||Home Applicants||International Applicants||Home Applicants||International Applicants|
* introduction of the pre-nomination stage by lead supervisors, for international students before they can put in a formal application.
Entry and Eligibility Criteria