Why study with us?

The SWBio DTP offers:

The SWBio DTP focuses on interdisciplinary research, bringing together the research excellence and strengths of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Rothamsted Research together with the Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Swansea University, UCB Pharma, University of the West of England (UWE) and SETsquared Bristol.

Strong collaborations already exist between these institutions including the Great Western Four (GW4) alliance and the South West Food Security and Land Research Alliance. As well as a number of other Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres including the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWWDTP), the NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (NERC GW4+ DTP) and the Water informatics: Science and Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training (WISE).

In addition, a number of our PhD projects are cross-institutional, building further on the expertise and resources of each partner. Significant recent investment within each institution has provided outstanding facilities and an excellent training environment for our students.

Some doctoral training programmes require you to complete multiple research projects (commonly referred to as 'rotations' or 'rotation projects') before selecting your thesis project, which can leave you with less time to complete your research and write your thesis. Others provide more time but no project flexibility. The SWBio DTP offers the best of both systems:

  • You will be recruited directly to a broad PhD project rather than to a programme.
  • You will undertake two rotation projects in different discipline areas in the first year, in which you will gain experience in different research groups and techniques relating to your project. Towards the end of the first year this experience may be used to refine the direction of your PhD project.

This system retains maximal time for your research studies while also allowing your developing research interests to steer the direction of your project.

The first year includes both taught elements and two research projects. It is a recognised MRes degree, providing an exit award should our students decide to leave at any stage of the programme after the first year.

Our taught units aim to provide you with outstanding training in key areas important as a bioscience researcher and to prepare you for a better professional career whether you decide on a career in or outside of research.

These include:

  • bioinformatics
  • statistics
  • coding
  • understanding the impact of your research in society, business and industry

The two rotation projects provide you with the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge and experience in your research area and experimental techniques. These will contribute to your main PhD project and will help you gain confidence and accelerate your development to an accomplished researcher.

Further information about the first year training >>

As part of the training programme, all SWBio DTP students undertake a work placement. This is either:

  • a 3 month PIPS(Professional Internships for PhD Students) placement - experience of working outside an academic research environment or a
  • 3 month minimum CASE placement* - opportunity to apply your PhD research in an industrial research environment.
  • This is a fantastic opportunity to deploy your doctoral training skills in a different organisation and to make you better placed to be agile across different career sectors.

    To support you with finding your PIPS placement, we have access to an impressive portfolio of high quality placement opportunities to provide you with a valuable and informative career development experience. You can decide whether to complete your placement locally, elsewhere in the UK or abroad.

    During your placement, you will continue to receive your stipend and other costs associated with the placement will either be funded by your placement host or the placement budget that is included as part of your studentship. The length of time indicated is based on a full-time student (pro-rata for a part-time student). Flexible working options can be taken into consideration, in consultation with your placement host.

    Further information about the PIPS and CASE placement schemes >>

    *CASE studentships only.

Our network is based in the beautiful South West of the UK, a region consistently identified as one of the most pleasant parts of the UK to live. Enjoy the cities of Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter or Swansea, with the beaches of Devon, Cornwall and Wales right at your doorstep. These are student cities with friendly people, green spaces and buzzing centres. They are the perfect size, offering all the excitement of big cities packed into areas you can easily explore on foot or by cycling.

Our programme endeavours to develop a strong cohort feel between students ensuring a great life both in and outside of your studies.

Please click on the titles above to view the information.

Hear what some of our students say.

Our former Director tells you more about the programme.