SWBio DTP expectations of supervisors

The BBSRC-funded South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) studentship you are supervising is part of a programme that trains postgraduate students in world-class bioscience across our core partners: universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, together with Rothamsted Research, and our associate partners: Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), SETsquared Bristol, Swansea University, UCB Pharma and the University of the West of England (UWE).

As part of your project submission you (as the main/Rothamsted supervisor) and your supervisory team have agreed to:

  • follow the programme requirements as described in the SWBio DTP Supervisor Handbook.
  • abide by the terms and conditions of the funder:
  • UKRI Terms and Conditions of training grants and training grant guide
  • ensure that the rotation projects taking place in your student’s taught first year do not interfere with the taught units or assessments.
  • mark rotation project reports (and any other assessments as requested* from time to time) from across the partnership as part of the taught first year.
  • assist in teaching (if requested*).
  • allow and encourage your student to attend DTP cohort activities and ensure that research and other training/fieldwork activities do not interfere.
  • keep in regular contact with your student throughout their studies, this is of particular importance during the writing of their thesis.
  • ensure your student submits their thesis within 4 years.
  • ensure that the PhD project remains within BBSRC remit.
  • alert and discuss with your local Management/Implementation Group representative if the following may occur:
    • significant change in project direction
    • intended change in main main supervisory team
    • change in mode of study of your student
    • introduction/loss of a CASE partner
    • progression issues

Note: Change in supervisors/project direction and introduction of a CASE partner will need to be approved by the Management Group. Further information can be found on the SWBio DTP website including the relevant forms to complete.

For Standard DTP studentships / Standard DTP studentships with associate partner:

  • support your student in undertaking a placement as part of the Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) scheme. This will require you to:
    • ensure the placement takes place in the second or third year of their studies.
    • allow your student to complete their placement within the designated dates as outlined in the job description.
    • maintain contact with your student throughout their placement (we recommend monthly).
    • visit/skype your student whilst on their placement and complete the relevant visitor form.
    • ensure they have completed their BBSRC PIPS report within 3 months of completing their PIPS (your student needs to contact PIPS@bbsrc.ac.uk to obtain their report).

For CASE DTP studentships:

  • support your student in undertaking a CASE placement. This will require you to:
    • ensure that your student undertakes their placement with the CASE partner (3 months minimum – 18 months maximum).
    • ensure that a SWBio DTP CASE studentship agreement is set up between the relevant parties.
    • maintain contact with your student throughout their placement (we recommend monthly).
    • visit/skype your student whilst on their placement and complete the relevant visitor form.
    • ensure your student has completed their BBSRC CASE report following their CASE placement (your student needs to contact CASE@bbsrc.ac.uk to obtain their report).
    • Note: A PIPS placement is optional if the project has an affiliated CASE partner.

*Requests made will be reasonable


  • studentships are awarded on the basis of a programme of study agreed by our funders and based within the SWBio DTP institutions. It is an expectation of the BBSRC that students are primarily based at the respective SWBio DTP partner institution for the duration of their PhD.  It is therefore unlikely that the SWBio DTP will agree the transfer of a studentship away from our partnership institutions in the event that a supervisor moves away from our network. 
  • research placements are acceptable where these benefit the programme of research and have a clearly measurable potential outcome, but would normally expected to be of short duration.  Students must still fully engage with the programme during this period.  


It is the responsibility of the main/Rothamsted/lead supervisor to cascade this document and other relevant SWBio DTP communications to the rest of the supervisory team.

This is the current version of the ‘SWBio DTP Expectations of Supervisors’ and supersedes all other versions.  This document will be reviewed annually in January.