Taking on a studentship can be challenging, but also hugely rewarding. They are often your first step into a new career and can open up a world of opportunities for you to develop as a researcher - perhaps one day you'll be a leader in your field. Our job is to get you there.

Why choose EI for your Postgraduate studies?

We are a vibrant, young institute with a reputation for innovation and a huge range of subject specialisms, from vertebrate evolution to algorithm development. There is always something new and exciting to work on and our building has cutting-edge facilities across training, next-gen sequencing and high-performance computing.

We are also part of the Norwich Research Park (NRP), a cluster of world-class research centres for biosciences, including the John Innes Centre (JIC), The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) and the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB). The University of East Anglia (UEA), as well as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), are right on our doorstep and part of the wider research park. In total, the community across the park is made up of over 2000 scientists and 13,000 students, 3,300 of which are studying at post-grad level.

When studying with us, you'll be part of an interactive research team, supported by supervisors with international reputations in their fields. We have a great student council who organise regular seminars, poster sessions, social events and other activities and we'd encourage you to get involved. There is also a site-wide Student Voice Committee, where you can meet other students studying at the NRP research Institutes.

The PhD projects we support are aligned with our major goals as an institute, giving you the chance to be part of the latest research and technology development in the life sciences. We have the kit, the expertise and the collaborative environment to kick start your career.

Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership.

The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) programme is a UKRI-BBSRC funded PhD training programme, developing biosciences graduates in to talented and highly skilled researchers, innovators and future leaders through working in a multidisciplinary research environment. EI is one of the five world-class centres of excellence that comprise the NRPDTP partners delivering the programme.

Skills Training & Career Development.

The aim of our training is to enhance the skills of our postgraduates so that, as talented individuals, they will be best placed for future careers in science and technology and in the increasing range of other science-related careers.

Professional Skills Training.

Training is provided locally or expert trainers are specifically brought in to respond to student training needs. Students are supported by a full-time Training & Development Manager who, in conjunction with the student and their supervisor, ensures that Personal and Professional Development (PPD) plans are maintained and reflect the student's development needs.

Students’ skill training is monitored and developed via Personal Development Plans which are discussed and reviewed at supervisory meetings, annual progress reviews and six monthly reviews with the Training & Development Manager.

Students are particularly encouraged to develop skills in science communication and research critique. Our renowned Wednesday Seminar series enables students to meet national and international speakers in person and a student seminar series enables students to discuss their work with their peers. There are also journal clubs, public engagements e.g. local Showcase of Postgraduate Research and work with the Teacher Scientist Network.

Research Skills Training.

Technical training is designed to broaden the student's knowledge of the research field and to develop a deeper understanding of contemporary developments in plant and microbial sciences.

  • Training courses on a wide range of methodologies are offered on the NRP as well as through the UEA schools within the Faculty of Science.
  • Courses provide specialist training in IT, computational biology, and a wide range of techniques and experimental approaches.
  • Students take mandatory modules for advanced skills training in statistics and experimental design, and in computational biology and bioinformatics.
  • Technical taster days and techniques workshops enable students to gain new ideas and identify the experts in particular research technologies.
  • Students learn many advanced techniques by shadowing experts in a highly collaborative environment.

Career Development.

Students are given appropriate career guidance by the supervisory team and the Training and Development Manager. We also have agreements in place with the UEA Careers Centre to provide support via a specific adviser specialising in postdoctoral career opportunities who operates a "careers clinic" involving one-to-one consultations. Students are encouraged to participate in national and international meetings relevant to their research and to become part of the international scientific community.

70 - 80% of our graduates continue in research in the UK, Europe and Overseas. Others have joined different science-related careers such as in the media or education.

The JIC Student Voice Committee invites guest speakers to encourage students to be aware of the diversity of careers open to them. Recent speakers have included a patent lawyer and a scientific editor.

Student Life.

We're all about a great culture, blending exciting work with a fun social scene in your time off. There are always things to do, whether organised through our Student Committee or with friends in the city centre. We also have an official EI Social email list, where you can arrange to catch a film or something to eat with others from the institute. We work hard, but we play pretty hard too. There are team sports events, from football to squash, and fitness classes onsite each week.

Studentship Programmes.

We offer three main types of studentship, Project, Rotation and Self-funded. There are many funding options available and we are always happy to answer any of your questions. We know applying for a studentship can be complicated but don't forget - we are here to help. Between our own research faculty office and the Graduate Studies Office based at the UEA, we can fully support you through your application process, as well as helping you settle in once you arrive.

  • Project PhD studentships

Students on this programme apply to carry out research on a specific project. In most cases these projects are conceived by the supervisor and are advertised on our website for competitive applications. These studentships are usually fully-funded (stipend, fees and research support costs). Students bringing their own funding (e.g. from national governments) may sometimes develop a project plan together with a supervisor. All applicants will be subject to the same assessment for acceptance on our PhD programme.

Most Project studentships involve a four-year period of study, of which the first three years are devoted to experimental work and related training. Students must submit their written thesis by the end of the 4th year. Project studentships will occasionally only provide three year’s funding in which case the student has an additional unfunded Registration-only year in which to complete writing up and submit the thesis.

Many EI projects are funded through the BBSRC-funded NRP Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

For more information on the application process:

  • Externally/Self-funded PhD Studentships

The PhD programme at the EI has already gained a reputation for training multidisciplinary scientists, equipped with diverse skills sought after across academia and industry. We welcome applications from externally funded and self funded PhD students throughout the year.

More details about the application process and prerequisites


If you have any queries relating to student opportunities with us, please contact the Graduate Studies Office:

Graduate Studies Office
Norwich Research Park
Colney, Norwich

  • +44 (0)1603 450768/9

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