Scholarships and Student Funding

John Peterson Memorial Scholarship

The School of Social and Political Science is pleased to offer this funded PhD award for September 2024 entry.

This new fund has been set up in memory of University of Edinburgh’s International Relations Professor John Peterson to support PhD study in Politics and International Relations (PIR) at the School of Social and Political Science. Professor John Peterson was at the forefront of teaching and research in areas including US-European relations, EU policy, US foreign policy and international trade. While at Edinburgh he engaged with countless students, scholars and practitioners through his lectures and seminars, policy analysis, research projects and supervision of research students. The John Peterson Memorial Scholarship will support one PhD studentship in PIR with a particular focus on PhD study in areas linked to EU politics, US foreign policy, and transatlantic relations.

The scholarship award holder is expected to be an energetic member of our postgraduate community, and will engage with opportunities to present their work to the wider student and staff body during the period covered by their award. We offer our postgraduates a range of training and development opportunities appropriate to their programme of study.


The award covers full tuition fees (UK, EU, or Overseas level) for the Prescribed Period of Study (3 years for the full-time PhD programme and 6 years for the part-time PhD programme), and a first year stipend (full-time equivalent, pro-rata for part-time) set to the UKRI level for 2024-2025 (uplifting in Year 2 for a part-time awardee). For reference, the UKRI level for 2024-2025 is set at £19,237 for full-time students, or the pro rata equivalent for part-time students. Please note - the stipend does not continue for remaining years.

Please note, the stipend is for the first year of study only. Students can also draw on the School’s PGR Research Support Fund (external to the scholarship).


The scholarship is available only to applicants intending to commence PhD Politics & International Relations study (full-time, or part-time) in the School of Social and Political Science in September 2024. The awardee must pursue a PhD topic in one of the following fields: 

  • European Union policy and politics
  • European Union external relations and foreign policy
  • Transatlantic relations (including trade)
  • US foreign policy in the areas of trade, climate change, or the environment

Please note this award is only for PhD study and not for MSc by Research.


When making decisions, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • the applicant's academic achievements
  • research proposal
  • research potential
  • previous publications
  • any relevant non-academic experience
  • the degree of support provided by references


Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for admission to the PhD Politics & International Relations on either a full-time, or part-time basis.


Eligible applicants should complete an online scholarship application.

Applications for 2024-2025 are now closed as April 18th deadline has passed.

Full guidance on submitting your application can be found on the School of Social and Political Science John Peterson Memorial Scholarship webpage.

Please ensure you review the Important Information and Recommendations section before submitting your application. We consider this to be essential reading.

Frequently Asked Questions: 


The University boasts tremendous expertise in European Union studies, both within Politics & International Relations (PIR), the wider School, as well as via the multidisciplinary Europa InstituteThe University is also a member of UNA Europa alliance of several leading European research universities.

PIR members with particular relevant research:  

  • Dr Adam Chalmers:  EU policy;  corporate lobbying,  corporate sustainability policy; 
  • Professor Chad Damro: EU external relations, EU trade,  Transatlantic relations;
  • Dr Carmen GebhardEuropean and Transatlantic Security; European integration; European foreign and security policy; EU-NATO; small state foreign policy;
  • Dr Ben MartillEuropean Union's foreign and security policy, British politics, party politics, European security, transatlantic relations, Foreign Policy Analysis;
  • Professor Ben Rosamond: political economy and politics of Brexit;  the political economy of the European Union and regional integration.

You are encouraged to contact one or more of these academics to discuss your proposal and application.

The wider School includes expertise on EU from social policy, sociological, or social anthropological perspectives:


A selection panel will meet in the Spring. It will be comprised of the PIR Postgraduate Advisors and supporting academics. The panel will assess scholarship applications based on the criteria below.  

Assessment Criteria

1.  Topic fit with scholarship call (does the proposed topic match the fields listed in the John Peterson fund) and match with possible supervisors;

2. Candidate Capabilities - academic achievements but also resourcefulness, commitment and resilience. We will focus on the candidate’s likely preparedness to undertake and complete a PhD and to contribute to a positive PhD community;

3. Research Proposal – the panel will assess the proposal’s coherence, originality, use of conceptual framing and broad methodological approach.

The scholarship applicants will be ranked, and the successful candidate notified in Spring. The Awardee will be given 7 calendar days to respond to the scholarship offer. If no response is received by the given date, the offer will be rescinded and awarded to the next reserve candidate. (Please note, in the event that a successful candidate later declines their award, for example because they obtain different funding, we will return to the top candidate on the reserve list). 

We aim to have contacted the successful Scholarship candidate to let them know the outcome of their application by the end of May. Due to the volume of applications we receive and the lengthy assessment and ranking process, we are unable to answer individual responses until then.


For application process queries, please contact the School of Social and Political Science

For academic queries, please contact the PIR Postgraduate Advisor: Sarah Liu

Further Information

John Peterson Memorial Scholarship