Research funding opportunities

  • Full details of all studentships and funding opportunities will be advertised on this page as and when they become available.

    • If you are interested in undertaking a research degree at Oxford Brookes University, visit the Areas of research page to find out more about the range of subject areas offered within our research communities, centres, groups, academic faculties and schools.
    • The UK Government's Postgraduate Doctoral Loan and Postgraduate Masters Loan schemes are also available to eligible students.
    • For research opportunities that require students to self-fund fees and living costs, visit the Other research degree opportunities page.

    If you are applying for one of the following studentships, you must follow the application guidance detailed at the end of each advert. Do not apply directly via the University's online application system at this stage.

  • There are currently no funded Studentships available.
    1. How to design a protein factory? Proteins shaping the plant endoplasmic reticulum (deadline: 11 December 2020)
    2. Integration of shape and function: identifying the genetic and neural circuitry underlying rapid male genital evolution (deadline: 11 December 2020)
    3. Bile acid metabolism in metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (deadline: 11 December 2020)
    4. Mixed signals: How different signalling modes are established in neurons (deadline: 11 December 2020)
    5. Molecular mechanisms of flagellum length control in protozoan parasites (deadline: 11 December 2020)

    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

    Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

    3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

    Project title: How to design a protein factory? Proteins shaping the plant endoplasmic reticulum

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU and International students.

    Closing date: 11 December 2020

    Start date: September 2021

    Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15,285)

    University fees and bench fees at the UK rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the studentship.

    Main Supervisor: Dr. Verena Kriechbaumer

    Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually.

    Project:

    Background: A great proportion of the planet’s food supply is produced, processed and transported through the plant secretory pathway. Here the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) forms the first compartment and is a major factory for protein/lipid synthesis and quality control. The ER structure is highly dynamic and composed of two morphologically distinct domains: cisternae and tubules, which are joined at 3-way junctions to create a polygonal network.

    A number of proteins have been identified that are involved in the organization of the cortical ER network in plants. These include reticulon proteins (creating/maintaining tubules) and Lunapark proteins (cisternae regulation).

    Though both cisternae and tubules are present in all eukaryotic cells, the proportion of each structure varies between cells and species which has been suggested to influence underlying cellular processes and protein secretion. E.g. secretory cells, such as pancreatic and salivary glands, display a higher proportion of cisternae, whereas cells with a lower requirement for protein secretion, e.g. cortex cells, tend to have a higher proportion of tubular ER. But a convincing link between structure and function of the ER has not been established.

    Workplan: High-resolution confocal microscopy as well as electron microscopy will be used to capture both ER structure and dynamics in presence and absence of known ER shaping proteins as well as recently identified novel proteins. Changes to structure and dynamics will be quantified using our specialist software AnalyzER.

    To link structure and dynamics with ER function a variety of protein production and secretion assays as well as membrane lipid analysis will be applied.

    We will expand this work to tomato as a crop and have identified and expressed the corresponding ER-shaping proteins and found a link to pathogen response.

    For informal inquiries please contact Dr Verena Kriechbaumer: vkriechbaumer@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:

    Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in Biological Sciences or related disciplines. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

    How to apply:

    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include the following application form:

    /documents/research-opportunities/phd-studentship-application-jan-14/


    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,

    Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

    3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

    Project title: Integration of shape and function: identifying the genetic and neural circuitry underlying rapid malegenital evolution

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU and International students

    Closing date: 11 December 2020

    Start date: September 2021

    Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15, 285)

    University fees and bench fees at the UK will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.

    Supervisors: Dr. Daniela Nunes (Oxford Brookes University), Carolina Rezaval (University of Birmingham), Casper Breuker (Oxford Brookes University) and Saad Arif (Oxford Brookes University)

    Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually.

    Project Description:

    Background

    The size and shape of male genitalia are remarkably diverse in animals with internal fertilization and this phenomenon is long thought to be driven by sexual selection. Changes in genital morphology could impact reproductive success by directly changing the function of the evolved organ and/or through behavioural modification of either or both sexes, for example through effects on female choice. However, causal links between morphological and behavioural changes have been difficult to establish because these components have often been addressed separately from a genetic, developmental and neural perspective.

    Aims

    This project aims to determine how genes known to contribute to the divergence in male genitalia between two closely related species, Drosophila simulans and Drosophila mauritiana, affect genital coupling, mating behaviour and reproductive success in these species. To obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms driving behavioural changes we will also conduct genetic screens to identify CNS neurons that are able to modulate the mating choices of both males and females as a response to the changes in the morphology of the male genitalia.

    The results of this project will provide unprecedented insights into the mechanisms through which morphological changes affect behavioural phenotypes and the evolution of reproductive isolation between species and speciation more generally.

    Training

    Training will be provided in genomic engineering using CRISPR/Cas9, Molecular biology, Drosophila genetics, Behavioural assays, Bioimaging, Optogenetics, Thermogenetics, Neurogenetics and neural circuit bashing using the state-of-the-art facilities available Oxford Brookes University and at the University of Birmingham.

    For informal inquiries about the project please contact Dr Daniela Nunes: msantos-nunes@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to
    hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include the following application form:

    /documents/research-opportunities/phd-studentship-application-jan-14/


    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,

    Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

    3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

    Project title: Bile acid metabolism in metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU and International students

    Closing date: 11 December 2020

    Start date: September 2021

    Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15, 285)

    University fees and bench fees at the UK rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.

    Supervisors: Dr. Laura Gathercole, Prof. Jeremy Tomlinson (University of Oxford), Prof. Sue Vaughan, Prof. Dave Carter

    Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually.

    Background

    Patients with metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) are at a greatly increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Bile acids are steroid compounds that are synthesised in the liver and, acting through the bile acid receptor FXR, can activate hepatoprotective signalling pathways. However, the physical properties of bile acids mean that certain species are cytotoxic and cause oxidative stress.

    It is known that bile acid homeostasis is altered in patients with MAFLD. We hypothesise that hepatic bile acid synthesis and metabolism are dysregulated and that this results in both an increase in the cytotoxicity of the bile acid pool and a loss of cytoprotective bile acid signalling, so promoting MAFLD progression and increasing the risk of developing HCC. Furthermore, that sex specific differences in the regulation, or dysregulation, of bile acid synthesis and metabolism contributes to the increased prevalence of MAFLD and HCC in males.

    Workplan

    The student will use invivo and liver spheroid models, combined with molecular and state of the art bioimaging techniques, to investigate the impact that manipulating bile acid synthesis and metabolism has on oxidative stress, hepatoprotective signalling and carcinogenesis, as well as the mechanisms that underpin sex specific differences.

    For informal inquiries about the project please contact Dr Laura Gathercole: lgathercole@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.ukand should include the following application form:

    /documents/research-opportunities/phd-studentship-application-jan-14/


    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,

    Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

    3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

    Project title: Mixed signals: How different signalling modes are established in neurons

    Eligibility: UK/EU and International students

    Closing date: 11 December 2020

    Start date: September 2021

    Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15, 285)

    University fees and bench fees at the UK rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.

    Supervisors: Dr Maike Kittelmann, Prof. Isabel Bermudez, Dr Ryan Pink, Prof Janet Richmond (external)

    Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually

    Project:

    Signal transduction from neurons happens on multiple levels: Neurotransmitters are released from synaptic vesicles at the active zone of synaptic connections and are highly specific to their target cells. Neuropeptides on the other hand are released from dense core vesicles and can modulate synaptic activity or act as long range signalling molecules to play a modulatory role in most behaviours. A third and even less understood mode of signalling is achieved through the release of exosomes from the plasma membrane of the neuronal cell body, axon or dendrite. However, how the components of these different signalling modes are correctly localised, their release sites established and maintained during development and how they interact with each other is still not well understood. While a variety of synaptic proteins have been suggested to be transported in precursor vesicles to the synaptic bouton, there is very little data on what distinguishes a precursor vesicle morphologically, what their cargo content is and how they are transformed locally into distinct synaptic and dense core vesicles. Additionally, multivesicular bodies have been suggested to be involved in protein sorting, recycling and transport in neurons as well as stabilization and modulation of neuromuscular signalling through the release of exosomes. We will use the powerful model organisms C. elegans with its vast range of genetic tools, fluorescent and electron microscopy as well as behavioural assays to better understand how synaptic components are transported to their correct release site, how extracellular cues from exosomes influence and modulate the formation of such sites as well as the effect on neuronal wiring and behaviour when these processes are disrupted.

    For informal inquiries about the project please contact Dr Maike Kittelmann: maike.kittelmann@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to
    hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include the following application form:

    /documents/research-opportunities/phd-studentship-application-jan-14/


    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,

    Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

    3Year, full-time PhD studentship

    Project title: Molecular mechanisms of flagellum length control in protozoan parasites.

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU and International students

    Closing date: 11 December 2020

    Start date: September 2021

    Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15, 285)

    University fees and bench fees at the UK rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.

    Supervisors: Prof Sue Vaughan, Dr Jack Sunter, Dr Philippe Bastin (Pasteur Institute)

    Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually.


    Project:

    The flagellum is a whip-like organelle, with both motility and sensory functions that protrudes from the cell body of almost all eukaryotic cells. It is a microtubule based structure that extends from a basal body, which is docked to the cell membrane at the base of the flagellum. Despite the ubiquitous nature of the flagellum in eukaryotic cells, its length can vary dramatically between organisms and even between tissues in the same organism. Therefore understanding flagellum length control is critical to dissecting the different flagellum functions.

    We use the divergent eukaryotes Leishmania and Trypanosomato study flagellum length control. During the Trypanosoma cell cycle a new flagellum is assembled alongside the old flagellum and at a certain point the assembly of this new flagellum is ‘locked’ and can no longer extend or shorten. We have recently shown this lock is due to the presence of the protein CEP164C at the base of the flagellum. DespiteLeishmania being closely related to Trypanosoma its flagellum is able to undergo dramatic changes in length not seen in Trypanosoma.

    Aim

    To dissect the molecular mechanisms of flagellum length control mechanisms of Leishmania and Trypanosoma.

    Workplan

    The student will generate deletion mutants and cells expressing fluorescently tagged proteins and use a broad range of molecular cell biology techniques coupled with advanced light and electron microscopy to analyse the resulting phenotypes.

    For informal inquiries about the project please contact Prof Sue Vaughan: svaughan@brookes.ac.uk or Dr Jack Sunter: jsunter@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to:
    hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include the following application form:

    /documents/research-opportunities/phd-studentship-application-jan-14/


    The Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership

    The Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) programme is a 4-year DPhil*/PhD programme that aims to equip a new generation of researchers with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle the most important challenges in bioscience research.

    We provide an innovative, individually-tailored training programme that includes taught courses in interdisciplinary skills and the opportunity for students to undertake two exploratory research projects with prospective supervisors in their first year before choosing their main 3-year research project. Students also undertake a 12-week professional internship to gain direct experience of the areas of work into which they can apply their skills.

    Oxford Brookes University are offering a place on the BBSRC funded DTP within the Department of Biological & Medical Sciences in the areas of plant cell biology, virology, insect and spider development, mammalian cell biology, molecular biology, metabolic modelling/systems biology, parasitology and bioimaging. The successful candidate will enjoy access to our state of the art facilities, including newly refurbished laboratories and bioimaging suite.

    In addition to their choice of PhD project at Oxford Brookes University, the student will be able to undertake their exploratory research projects at any of the seven world-class research institutions that make up the DTP:

    • University of Oxford, coordinators of the DTP
    • Oxford Brookes University, a partner with the University of Oxford in developing regional excellence in bioscience research
    • Pirbright Institute, the UK’s national centre of research into viral diseases of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to humans
    • Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility
    • ISIS, which provides national capabilities for neutron science
    • STFC Central Laser Facility, which provides state-of-the-art laser technology for experiments in physics, chemistry and biology
    • The Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH), is a multidisciplinary laboratory specialising in research using Diamond, ISIS and the Central Laser Facility at Harwell
    • The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new national institute dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development.

    The programme is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with additional support from within the Partnership.

    Please see below for potential supervisors and instructions on how to apply.

    If you wish to apply to the DTP via Oxford Brookes University please complete the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences PhD Research Studentship Application Form.

    Application and CV must be emailed to the address shown on the application form and CC’d to dcarter@brookes.ac.uk

    We have many projects available which can be taken as a short term (3-month) rotation or a full PhD project. The following supervisors are offering exciting projects; for further information click on the link to visit their lab website.

    Alison Forhead           Endocrine regulation during fetal growth

    Alistair McGregor       Evolution of animal development and morphology

    Andy Jones                 Functional studies of insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

    Barbara Jennings         Investigating the mechanism of Groucho-mediated repression

    Casper Breuker           Butterfly Ecological Evolutionary Developmental Biology

    Dave Carter                 Extracellular Vesicle biology

    David Meredith          Membrane Transporter function

    Dianne Newbury         The Genetics of Language Disorders

    Hee-Jeon Hong           Microbial genetics and antibiotic resistance

    Isabel Bermudez         Molecular Neuropharmacology

    Jack Sunter                  Understanding cell morphogenesis in Leishmania

    Jon Lees                      Deep Learning for protein function prediction

    Jordi Solana                The use of single-cell RNA-seq to identify stem cells

    Katja Graumann          Nuclear envelope in plants

    Korneel Hens              Next generation technologies for gene regulatory network mapping

    Linda King                  Molecular Virology

    Maike Kittelmann       Synapse formation in neurons

    Maria Santos-Nunes    Phenotypic evolution and adaptation

    Mark Poolman             Cell systems modelling

    Michael Gerth             Evolution of inherited microbial symbionts in insects

    Paul Potter                  Analysing critical factors in mitochondrial complex I assembly

    Ravinder Kanda          The Role of Endogenous Retroviruses in Immunity

    Ryan Pink                   Cell signalling

    Saad Arif                    Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics

    Sue Vaughan               Cell Biology of Trypanosomes

    Verena Kriechbaumer Endoplasmic reticulum structure and function

    Deadline for receipt of applications is 12 noon on 22nd January 2021

    Eligibility criteria: The studentship covers bench fees, stipend, and ‘Home’ tuition fees only.

    Start date September/October 2021

    Bursary is approximately £15,609 for academic year 2021/22

    Applicants require a good Honours degree level equivalent to a UK degree BSc (minimum 2.1 or higher).

    Any queries please contact: Professor David Carter:dcarter@brookes.ac.uk


     

     

    There are no funded Studentships available at the moment.

    Faculty of Technology Design and Environment

     School of Arts

    PhD studentship: Screen and Dark Tourism

    Eligibility:        Home/EU Students and International Students

    Bursary:           £15,009 pa (with no inflation increase) for three years; fieldwork allowance of £3,000

    Fees:                Tuition fees up to Home/EU level will be paid by the University

    Deadline:          26 November 2020

    Start date:        June 2021

    We are looking for a doctoral researcher with an interest in pursuing an interdisciplinary project that falls under the general theme of Arts, Media, and the Creative Industries. The rise in recent media attention to the practice of so-called ‘Dark Tourism’ has prompted this project to investigate various strands of the phenomenon, particularly as it relates to media representation and tourism policy. The supervisory team are experts in the subjects of media violence (Steenberg) and screen tourism (Cateridge) and wish to combine such concerns through a project that investigates the multi-faceted cultural trend of dark tourism.

    Project description

     

    While media commentaries about dark tourism are many, there are relatively few academic studies of the practice. This project seeks to add to an emerging field of study by supporting doctoral research into the intersection points between the media and dark tourism.

    Under the general subject of Dark Screen Tourism, this project will allow the researcher to pinpoint specific areas of inquiry based on their interests and specialism. Key research areas could include:

     

    • Gender and dark tourism
    • Dark touristic industries
    • Government policies and dark tourism
    • Screen tourism and the crime genre
    • Screen tourism and the action genre
    • Dark tourism and true crime
    • Television/Film and Dark tourism

    Requirements

     

    Students applying for this project should have a BA and MA in related disciplines, including: Film Studies, Television Studies, Media Studies, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Creative Industries or Practice, History, or Policy studies. As part of the project, students will need to become comfortable with analysing media. They will also need to apply methods of gathering, mapping and analysing large scale data (such as tourism numbers, tourist practice on social media). Training in digital humanities methods would be desirable, although there will be opportunities to learn such methods through the project.

    For any additional information, please contact Dr Lindsay Steenberg (lsteenberg@brookes.ac.uk) for details about the application, which will include a Curriculum Vitae, project proposal and speculative plan of research.

    How to apply

    Email tdestudentships@brookes.ac.uk for an application pack, quoting ‘Screen and Tourism’ in the subject line.

    Faculty of Technology Design and Environment

     

    School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

     

    PhD Studentship: 3 year, full-time funded PhD Studentship - Future of Mobility and Clean Growth

     

    Eligibility: UK/EU students and international students

     

    Bursary: £15,009 per annum (with no inflation increase) for three years; £1,677 pa for fieldwork

     

    Fees:  Tuition fees up to Home/EU level will be paid by the University

     

    Deadline:  11 December 2020

     

    Start date: June 2021

     

    Project description

     

    The main focus of this studentship is to contribute to the strengthening of inter-disciplinary activity in one of the following areas:

     

    • Modal shift away from carbon-based transport, to more neutral fuels, and electric vehicles;
    • Development of autonomous vehicles and vehicle systems;
    • Improving air quality, through street furniture and vehicle design to reduce urban emissions, and the health implications of transport.

     

    Transport and mobility is one of the main consumers of energy in terms of fuel consumption, as well as being one of the largest producers of harmful emissions such as NOx and particulates. The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics has a strong history of working very closely with the Motorsport Industry, which is an ideal test-bed for technological innovation. Previous research projects in the area of sustainable mobility included projects such as BMW’s Electric Mini trials, and current projects include the FARADAY ReLib project, focussed on the recycling of tractive batteries for transportation.

     

    Rather than specifying one project, we are encouraging applications to work on one of the following topics:

     

    a)    CFD Modelling of urban features, to encourage dispersion of emissions, and develop street furniture that will promote cleaner outdoor environments in towns and cities;

     

    b)      Modelling and experimental testing of battery packs, cells, and battery management systems for high lightweight urban vehicles;

     

    c)       Instrumentation for use in electric or autonomous vehicles;

     

    d)    Use of carbon neutral fuels such as Ammonia in internal combustion engines.

     

    Any international student awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international and Home/EU fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually.

     

    The successful candidate will be supervised by Prof Denise Morrey and Prof John Durodola. For informal academic enquiries, contact Prof Morrey by email: dmorrey@brookes.ac.uk.

     

    Requirements

     

    We are looking for a highly competent and capable candidate to submit his/her PhD thesis within 3 years. Candidates would be expected to have at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) and/or Masters in a related subject (e.g. engineering, computer science, or a closely related area). They should be able to demonstrate strong interdisciplinary research capabilities, be fluent in spoken and written English.

     

    The selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, suitability of research experience/ skills, and subject knowledge. A demonstrable interest in technological innovation would be an advantage.

     

    How to apply

     

    For further information on how to apply, please email tdestudentships@brookes.ac.uk for an application pack, quoting “Future of Mobility and Clean Growth” in the subject line.