2023/24 Rosalind Franklin Institute PhD studentship, UK.

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Application Deadline: Ongoing.

We are now accepting applications for the 2023/24 academic year. Please begin your application on our online portal here.

Franklin students work on highly interdisciplinary projects across our Themes with real-world impact, world-leading research supervisors, access to industrial collaborations and top universities from across the UK and beyond-state-of-the-art technologies.

In their first year, students will be registered with our training partner, University of Edinburgh. After completing training, including courses with Edinburgh and Franklin-specific training in our Themes, students will choose a 12-week research project from a catalogue of possible projects. These projects will be highly innovative projects centred around the Franklin technologies and be in collaboration with university academics. Following the evaluation of this Y1 project, students will then register at their supervisor’s university for Years 2-4, which will become the awarding body for their degree.


The Franklin PhD programme is fully funded for four years, where successful students will be offered:

  • Tax-free stipend each year for four years
  • ‘Home’ tuition fees for their entire degree*
  • All associated project, conference and publication costs
  • Free bus travel or free parking
  • Free affiliate student societies / club membership to a college from University of Oxford (please note that this does not include access to university accommodation, nor will our students be registered at University of Oxford)

‘Home’ students are defined as UK and Irish Nationals, have EU-settled status, have EU-pre-settled status, or have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

Franklin Culture:

It’s important for PhD students to maintain a healthy work-life balance, supporting their mental and physical health.

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is based in Harwell Campus, which boasts a number of specialist research organisations, some of which have their own PhD students, and local services including a dentist, a gym and sports leagues and teams. As well as active LGBTQ+ and Green networks, there is also a ‘Nxt Gen’ programme specifically for early-career researchers, and they hold social events on a frequent basis. We also have subsidised access to the RAL canteen and coffee outlets on campus, who provide a variety of hot and cold food options.

The Harwell Campus is based in Oxfordshire, with frequent and direct transport links to Oxford via bus, train and the A34. Students will have access to bus travel serving Oxford and Oxfordshire towns, a cycle-friendly workplace, free electric car charging points and free parking in Harwell Campus. Local amenities can be found here.

As PhD students at the Franklin, successful applicants will also be eligible to join and participate in societies at a college from University of Oxford. Internally, our institute offers an active social committee and an Early Careers Lead to support students throughout their time with us. PhD students will have an annual 25 days’ entitlement to leave, not including bank holidays and extra leave at Christmas.


We aim to provide an environment for students and staff to flourish personally and professionally and support our students until their next steps – in whatever field that might be. Franklin students will have training resources available to them from multiple avenues – from the Franklin community, our scientific collaborators across Harwell Campus, our Y1 partner University of Edinburgh, and our university partners for Years 2-4. We believe in a strong research culture, which our staff and students can imbibe and take with them in their future careers.

Franklin students will participate in higher-level research skills, with exciting Theme-specific activities tailored specifically to early career researchers and widening knowledge across different disciplines. Training materials will be accessible throughout their time at the Franklin.

Fully funded PhDs:

Our PhD students will receive an extended tax-free living allowance. This does not need to be paid back. This allowance means our students will not require paid internships, or part-time jobs, and can focus on their projects without having to worry about living expenses. Furthermore, they will be provided with additional benefits, such as free parking or a travel allowance for their daily commute into the Franklin hub (whichever may be relevant for them).

Diverse interview panels:

The Franklin’s proud commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion means that every PhD interview will have a mixed-sex panel of scientists from across our research Themes, including researchers from different career stages.

Not using the ‘BAME’ umbrella term:

Although developed as a means to collate information about ethnic minorities – in education, the workplace, healthcare and in society in general – statistics on the ‘BAME’  community [Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic] can misrepresent the frequencies of individual groups within this term. Using this collective term means that the issue of under representation of particular groups within academia is not addressed in a directed manner.


Therefore, in our PhD applications and wider recruitment strategies, we will not be applying this term when describing our staff or student populations. We will continue to collect data on ethnicity, and will use this to report both to our funders and to improve our internal practices.

A team of supervisors:

Gone are the days of students interacting with a single PhD supervisor. Franklin students will be supervised by a team of supervisors, including Franklin scientists and collaborators from the partnering university on the PhD project. This gives our students a key opportunity to learn from, and be supported by, many scientists with a range of expertise and maximise their experience from the programme.

Career guidance and developing pathways:

The old rhetoric of ‘academia or industry’ choices for PhD graduates is entirely incompatible with the novel technology and research that takes place every day in the Franklin. From post-doctoral fellows, to data scientists and policy-makers, our one-of-a-kind programme will mould students into innovative, lateral-thinking, independent scientists, who will be ready to step into their chosen careers with practical guidance and support.

Monitoring measures and optimising processes:

At the Franklin, we aim to continue pushing boundaries and welcome good practices wherever we find them. Monitoring these initiatives helps us gauge what we need to work on to increase interest, engagement and applications from individuals who are underrepresented in academia and research. Analysing who applies (and is successful) during our PhD recruitment shows us how to reach (and support) applicants from across the UK, from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Eligibility and entrance requirements:

We are looking for open-minded candidates who want to develop and use Franklin technologies in novel, interdisciplinary research spanning our different scientific themes. We welcome candidates from any scientific, maths, computing or engineering backgrounds.

To be considered for this programme, each applicant must have (or be on track to obtain):

  • a First Class or 2:1 degree in a relevant subject or
  • Any equivalent qualification to the above from a UK or international higher education institution in a relevant subject.

If English is not your first language, please note that you must be able to demonstrate a proficiency in English which is equivalent to a 7.0 score in an IELTS test, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each individual component. (We will request this from successful candidates after interview.)

Visit the official website for details and application