School of Biological Sciences

Scholarships and funding

Supporting your study

We offer many funding opportunities to support both undergraduate and postgraduate students, including a broad range of University of Essex scholarships, studentships within the School, and studentships from EnvEast. 


Search our Scholarship Finder to see the funding you can apply for. Our range of scholarships and bursaries to support talented students ensure we remain accessible to all with the potential to succeed, regardless of financial circumstances.

University of Essex Doctoral Scholarships

Our University of Essex Doctoral Scholarships support talented PhD students pushing boundaries in their field of study.

There are 24 awards in total to be granted across our Science and Health, Social Science and Humanities faculties for 2018-19.If you have an excellent academic background and the potential for future achievement then you could be eligible.

PhD studentships

PhD studentships are offered by the School of Biological Sciences, EnvEast (NERC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership) and the EU (Horizon 2020). Details of our current opportunities are listed below. For further information, please contact the Graduate Administrator, Emma Revill (

Current studentships

PhD studentship: Epigenetic changes in Plant Acclimation

Plants, including all our crop plants, live in a dynamic environment with external conditions varying over the day and season and these signals influence how a plant grows and how productive it is. Light intensity is one of the most variable environmental factors that can change on time scales of seconds to hours.  Passing clouds and overlapping leaves in a canopy result in plants experiencing sun and shade flecks over the majority of the diurnal period.

It is well known that plants will acclimate to the light environment experienced during growth, however to date the majority of studies in these areas have focused on ‘high’ or ‘low’ light.  Recently we have demonstrated a completely different acclimation strategy in Arabidopsis subjected to fluctuating light compared with square wave light regimes (see Vialet-Chabrand, et al., 2016, Matthews et al., 2018). We now wish to explore the influence of epigenetics on this acclimation and the benefit that this may have for priming plants for the predicted changes in climate, to improve productivity and crop yield.

This studentship will explore the role of epigenetics in plant acclimation to dynamic light using a range of physiological, molecular and bioinformatic tools.

Please apply for this PhD studentship by sending a CV and cover letter (including contact details of two academic references) outlining your application to Professor Tracy Lawson.

Supervisor: Professor Tracy Lawson

Deadline: 25 January 2019

PhD studentships - ARIES Doctoral Training Partnership

The ARIES (“Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences”) DTP trains postgraduate research students (PGRs) with excellent potential from across society, equipping them with the necessary skills to become 21st Century Scientists: leaders in the science and sustainable business of the natural environment.  ARIES brings together expertise from five universities and over forty research-users.

We do not currently have any ARIES studentships available. If you would like more information about the ARIES DTP at Essex please email

What's the importance of research at universities?

Academic freedom, together with creative and critical thought, is at the core of research in universities! Postgraduate students are encouraged to follow exciting lines of enquiry and publish their research findings. Published work becomes the cornerstone of scientific endeavour, and can have major impacts on society. In the School of Biological Sciences, for example, research has advanced our fundamental understanding of: mechanisms of cancer, limits of life, stress-resistance in crops, processes behind climate change, and the structure of haemoglobin that has led to the development of blood substitutes.

Why should you do your research at Essex?

At the University of Essex, you can perform exciting research with excellent supervision that strikes the balance between guidance and encouraging independence. You belong to intellectually stimulating research groups, and, importantly, will find a friendly, supportive environment within departments and across the university. Essex provides outstanding financial support for training, field work, participating in conferences, and opportunities to interact with future employers.

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Stay with us

If you're one of our graduates, studied abroad with us, or have a spouse or partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees, we'll give you a loyalty discount of up to 33% on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex.

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