Students in classroom

We hope our FAQs section below covers any questions you may have about doing an industry-focused PhD, but if you have any other questions please contact our team at scitech.partnerships@lancaster.ac.uk.

You can also download our 3 Year Industry-led funded PhDs FAQs

1.    Who can do the industry-funded three year PhDs?

Applicants of any nationality can apply.  We require applicants to have, or expect to graduate with a good first degree (2:1 or I or the equivalent) and/or postgraduate qualification in biological sciences, chemistry, communications, computing, engineering, environmental sciences, geography, mathematics, physics or related disciplines. Find out why Laura and Rebecca chose to do an industry-focused PhD.

2.   What funding is available and why?

A number of tax free stipends of £15,000 are available for October 2016 entry to help with living costs, and further tax free stipends of £15,000 available for January 2017, April 2017, June 2017, and October 2017 entry. The design of this PhD, and access to a £15,000 tax free stipend to support living costs, is possible due to funding from the European Regional Development Fund.  The PhDs are facilitated by the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, which manages the Low Carbon Lancashire Innovation Hub (LoCaL-i), part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. A £15k stipend may be available to all students offered a place on the PhD programme, regardless of nationality.

The European Regional Development Fund is one of the European Union’s structural funds, dedicated to regional development. ERDF is one of the largest of these funding sources. The funds are awarded to public, private and voluntary sector organisations to support local area economic growth, its businesses, communities and people.

ERDF funds are awarded in programmes, i.e. rounds of funds allocated over a set period of time- seven years. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) managed the 10 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes in England 2007-2013, which were worth around €3.2 billion (approximately £2.8 billion). The next programme- the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme, which includes ERDF, European Social Fund, and Youth Employment Initiative funding, runs from 2014 to 2020.

3.    What fees do I have to pay?

All successful graduates will have £4,195/year for fees paid by the partner company. For EU/UK students, that covers your fees, so the PhD is fully funded. Fees for Non EU/UK graduates are subsidised from  £17,510/year.

4.    When will the stipend be paid?

Students who receive the stipend will receive £15,000 in Year 1, £15,000 in Year 2 and £15,000 in Year 3.  The stipend will be paid in 12 monthly instalments each year. You can use the stipend for whatever you wish, including your fees.

5.    What kinds of companies will I be working with?

The company projects will be with businesses participating in the programme that aspire to innovate and grow through research and development.

6.    What kind of projects could I be doing with businesses?

The projects will take a variety of forms, but will all involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes.  View examples of previous projects.

7.     How are the businesses chosen?

There is a team of specialist business development staff recruiting and selecting businesses. Each business has to provide clear evidence of their ambition, resource and global mind-set to fully engage with the programme and grow their business. They also have to have a viable PhD-level project that can be supervised by Lancaster academic staff.

8.    Where do I study?

Students will study at Lancaster University and also have the opportunity to work up to 50% of their time with the business partner.

9.    Where will I live?

Postgraduate students at Lancaster University can apply for on-campus accommodation or find accommodation off campus, in Lancaster City Centre and the surrounding areas.  Applications for on-campus accommodation are dealt with by the Graduate College Residence Office.  LUSU Living is Lancaster University’s off-campus accommodation service. You will live in your accommodation and travel to the company when required. 

10. When can I register interest?

We are inviting students to register interest for October 2016 or January 2017, April 2017, June 2017 and October 2017 entry now through our quick and simple registration form. We will be in touch when projects are available on the website.

11. How do I apply?

Once projects have been approved, alerts will be emailed to registrants from this email address, so make sure you have it saved. To apply for a PhD project, you will be asked to email

If selected then you will be invited to an interview and to find out more about the project. The selection panel will include the member(s) of staff proposing to supervise the project from both the host university and partner company.

Once you have been told you have a place, you will complete the University's online application system. It is easy to use, and lets you do everything you need: from completing the form, uploading supporting documents (such as degree certificates, transcripts, language test results) and tracking the progress of your application.  The process is the same, whether you are a UK/EU student or an international student.

12.  I have never worked for a business before- does that matter?

You do not need to have worked after graduation to be eligible for this programme, but work experience will nevertheless be very valuable. An interest and empathy with the value of business driven collaborative R&D with Universities would be helpful.

13.  Why should I apply?

You should apply if you are a graduate with ambition to reach the highest professional standing and if you want to develop your skills and experience to undertake a rewarding and well-paid career which uses your background in science or engineering.  You will be part of a graduate team at a world-class university underpinning the development of radically new products and services.

14.  How long do I get to spend working with my company?

This will vary from project, but is likely to be up to 50% of the time.

15.  What are the language requirements for the course?

Studying at PhD level demands a high level of fluency in written and spoken English, and excellent comprehension. See the Lancaster University website for more information.

16. What career paths could I follow after completing the industry-focused PhD?

The academic and business-based research skills you acquire through this programme will give you a launch-pad for various types of careers, whether your aim is to establish a new venture, join a business or government institution, or move into University research management.

17. When can I apply for the PhDs?

The recruitment campaign is going well. We now have over 100 businesses we are working with at the moment to progress their projects. Businesses continue to be from a range of sectors including chemical, energy, manufacturing companies, environmental consultancies, software developers, digital health companies, and more, so we expect to have a broad mix of PhD projects to offer.

Before we can advertise the PhD projects for you to apply for, our partnerships team works with each business, and relevant potential academic supervisors at Lancaster University, to see if it’s the right kind of project for everyone involved. It’s taking us a little longer than expected, but it is very important we choose the right businesses for you to work with on your PhD.

18. What about Britain and the European Union Referendum?

The industry focused-PhDs you registered for are delivered through the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation’s Low Carbon Lancashire Innovation Hub (LoCaL-i), which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Lancaster University would like to assure you, and all our current and future students – whatever their background – that Lancaster is a welcoming community that includes students from around the world (142 countries) and this will not change. Lancaster University will work towards ensuring that the best interests of all our students are maintained and we will continue to be a welcoming destination for the brightest and best minds.

19.  Who do I contact for more information about the industry-focused PhDs?

You are welcome to contact us with queries about the programme and how it might fit with your own background and career plans.

For specific enquiries about the programme in the first instance please contact the team at graduate-applications@cgeinnovation.org

For queries relating specifically to the Lancaster University admissions process, please contact the Science and Technology Admissions Team fst-pg-admissions@lancaster.ac.uk