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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Funding for postgraduate research

We provide a range of funding options to help our researchers fulfil their potential.

Explore the funding options available for doctoral candidates in science and engineering and learn more about the University's flagship funding scheme for outstanding doctoral candidates.

Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund

Applications are now open for the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund.

The Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund (the Fund) aims to encourage greater diversity in physics by supporting students from groups currently under-represented in physics who wish to study for a doctoral degree.

The Fund was made possible thanks to the generosity of Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who won the prestigious Breakthrough Prize for physics in 2018 for her role in the discovery of pulsars. Dame Jocelyn chose to donate her £2.3m prize award to the Institute of Physics (IOP) in order to set up the Fund. 

Application deadline

Applications open on Friday 1 November 2019 and the closing date is midday Friday 10 January 2020.

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria can be found in an online guide and a full set of terms and conditions can be found by visiting the IOP website.

The application process

All relevant documentation including the application form and application guidance notes are available on the IOP website.

The Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund Panel will review applications which meet the eligibility criteria and shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview in the spring.

About the Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics (IOP) works to advance physics for the benefit of all. It is the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland. We seek to raise public awareness and understanding of physics and support the development of a diverse and inclusive physics community.

As a charity, we are here to ensure that physics delivers on its exceptional potential to society.

Get in touch

For more information on the Fund, please visit the IOP website or email


Each year, around twelve fully-funded studentships are awarded through the EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Applications of Graphene and Related Nanomaterials (Graphene NOWNANO).

Applications are welcome from any students who have obtained a first or upper second class undergraduate honours degree in science, engineering or biomedical sciences.

The studentships are available to UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for a minimum of three years. There are also a small number of funded places for EU nationals who do not currently reside in the UK.

Manchester Master's Bursary

The University of Manchester offers 100 bursaries for master's students, each worth £3,000, to UK and EU students. The bursaries are awarded each September to coincide with the start of study, and applications usually open in the spring of the year prior to study. To find out more about the bursaries and how to apply, please visit the Manchester Master's Bursary page.

Postgraduate loans

If you’re coming to Manchester this year to begin postgraduate study, you could qualify for a loan from the UK government. To find out more, please visit the central University funding pages.

President's Doctoral Scholar Awards

The President's Doctoral Scholar Award is a flagship funding scheme supported by the University's President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell. It offers the most outstanding home and international students the chance to win one of 100 elite studentships each year. Successful students will be awarded funding for their doctoral studies as well as a further £1000 towards their living costs. Through the award you will also be invited to take part in extra-curricular activities that support and enhance your work here at the University.

To find out more about the awards on the President's Doctoral Scholar Award website. Information on how to apply can be found on the Faculty of Science and Engineering website.

Overseas Research Scholar Awards

The Overseas Research Scholar Awards are awarded annually by the Department to four overseas researchers. The award subsidises the international student fees to the level that a UK and EU student would pay. The award is highly competitive and so early application is advisable.

Research Council Awards

Research Council Awards are funded by the government Research Councils including: the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Typically the awards cover the university fees for a 42-month PhD and maintenance costs and are applied for directly through the councils themselves. They are open for applications by British and European nationals resident in the UK, where British nationals qualify for funding to cover university fees and maintenance and European nationals for university fees only.

Research scholar awards for European nationals

The Department offers four bursaries that cover fees and up to £7,500 per annum for maintenance costs.