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 Faculty studentships

The Role of Biodiversity in Promoting and Maintaining Human Health and Wellbeing

Human health and the natural environment are intractably linked; with growing evidence that spending time outside immersed in nature, particularly when undertaking exercise, is beneficial for health and wellbeing. However, the evidence base has taken a mean-field approach to assessing nature, generally assuming that most natural green space is equivalent in terms of health promoting qualities. Ecologically this appears misleading, as the role of biodiversity stocks in regulating the flow of ecosystem services (e.g. health benefits) is highly dependent on the environmental and ecological context under which natural ecosystems exist; simply put, different components of biodiversity provide differing amounts of benefits to society in general, and across different groups within a society. This studentship will explore how different quantities and qualities of biodiversity and the associated differences in structural complexity of ecosystems influence health-related ecosystem service delivery.

Deadline: 13th July 2018

Rapid 3D Reconstruction of Coral Ecosystems from Multi-Camera Imagery

The Schools of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and Biological Sciences at the University of Essex are pleased to announce a PhD studentship available in “Rapid 3D reconstruction of coral ecosystems from multi-camera imagery”.

By using camera systems taking images from multiple angles, compelling 3D models of coral reef structures can be built using a photogrammetry technique called “structure from motion”. An alternative is a technique known as “visual SLAM”, which runs in real time. By adopting elements of both techniques, this studentship will develop a hybrid approach to support marine surveying, in particular for threatened coral reefs. For example, by producing 3D models of reefs, biodiversity can be monitored in ways that are currently not possible using manual measurements taken in-situ by divers.

Supervisors: Dr Jon Chamberlain and Dr Adrian Clark, with regular input from Professor David Smith and Dr Philippe Laissue

Application deadline: 20 July 2018

Flipping the switch; AtS6K2 signalling during stress

All living organisms have adopted ways to maintain internal equilibrium and respond to stress factors. Consequently, they have evolved tightly regulated signalling pathways, which can sense changes in the environment and elicit a response.

In plants, like in most eukaryotes, the p70 ribosomal S6 kinases (S6Ks) pathway coordinates cell growth, cell proliferation, and stress response. Studies in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) have shown that, similarly to in humans, the S6K family is composed of two members, called AtS6K1 and AtS6K2, which function differently. Little is known about AtS6K2 specific roles, despite initial evidences suggesting that it regulates responses to environmental stresses and developmental cues. The aim of this project is to unravel how AtS6K2 enables the plant to adapt to changes in the environment.

Supervisor: Dr Filippo Prischi

Deadline: 1st October 2018

Current MSD Studentships

Modelling the stock structure and responses to fishing in the European flat Oyster (O.edulis)

With the initiative to leave open the opportunity to have an active fishery for European native oyster in the future, while presently undertaking active conservation for the species due to recent declines, this project will develop a population model for European Oysters (Ostrea edulis). The model will be built to capture the basic features of the oyster population in an Essex Marine Conservation Zone such as total stock and age/size distributions. The model can be parameterized using data from existing projects on individual survival and growth probabilities. The objective of the project is to examine the sensitivity of population growth to variation in interannual recruitment and size-selective predation from either the fishery or natural predators.

Deadline: 30th June 2018.

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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Stick with us

If you're one of our graduates, studied abroad here 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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