School of Social and Political Science

Economic and Social Research Council Awards - Student-led Open Competition


Applications for 2024/25 opened on 2nd October 2023.

The School of Social and Political Science is pleased to announce the availability of studentships funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for the academic year 2024/25.

In addition to the guidance, please also check that you satisfy the eligibility criteria in the Open Competition Guidance document on the ESRC website.

These scholarships are managed by the College Postgraduate Research Office - please see the Contact us section for details.

How to apply

If you wish to apply for an ESRC award to be held at the School of Social and Political Science, you should contact the relevant Unit of Assessment Lead as soon as possible to discuss your proposal and your interest in the ESRC awards.

Unit of AssessmentName of Lead
Anthropology and Development StudiesProf. Alice Street
Politics and International Studies

Prof. Tim Hayward (Semester 1)

Dr Sarah Liu (Semester 2)

Social Work and Social PolicyDr Robin Sen
Sociology (including Science and Technology Studies)

Dr Liliana Riga (Semester 1)

Dr Angelica Thumala (Semester 2)

They can also help identify a suitable supervisor for your degree programme.

Note that ESRC scholarships can be offered as

  • Masters plus PhD (1 + 3.5 years) or
  • PhD (length of award and requirements are determined by SGSSS for each applicant)

This will be dependent on the experience of the applicant. More information is available on the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences website in the guidance document.

Application process and closing dates

The application process for ESRC awards has a number of stages and deadlines. The ESRC application system opened on 2nd October 2023.

Stage One: Prior to 5pm 23rd November 2023 GMT

Submit your application for admission to the University of Edinburgh programme of study:

Apply on the University of Edinburgh website

You will then receive a student University Username (UUN eg. s1234567) and a password, which will give you access to the University's Applicant Hub. 

Note - current students do not need to complete this stage.

Stage Two: Prior to 5pm 1st December 2023 GMT

Applicants must also make a funding application to include academic transcripts, CV and referee details to the SGSSS before 5pm GMT on 1st December 2023. Any queries about registering or logging in to the system can be directed to the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science at  

Note - both new applicants and current students must complete this stage.

Selection process and award announcement

The Open Competition includes three stages of review, with candidates updated after each stage until either you are awarded or your application is unsuccessful.

  1. University of Edinburgh review: this is a two-stage process with a nomination needed from the Unit of Assessment Lead and then selection by the University panel.
  2. Challenge Led Pathway Review: this stage is when each of the six challenge pathways considers applications shortlisted by universities.
  3. Global Review: this stage is when a final review panel consisting of Deans and members of the SGSSS Directorate meet to make the final award decisions.

The award decision will be communicated to applicants by May 2024.

Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

This webpage is just an overview of the application process. For full details and guidance notes please see the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) website. 

SGSSS welcomes applications from full-time PhD students in Year 1 of study, or part-time PhD students in Year 2 of study. These current students need only to complete the 'SGSSS Apply' application process as they are already registered on their postgraduate programme. Please note that current PhD students who already hold University PhD funding at UKRI stipend rates are not eligible for the SGSSS PhD funding. Also, current PhD students who hold other PhD funding equivalent to the ESRC award are not eligible to apply for this funding

Online Information Session

Online Information Session for prospective applicants – 17th October 2023 10am BST
The Dean of Postgraduate Research hosted a 1 hour online information session about the SGSSS Open PhD competition for prospective applicants. Please find the recording below. 

Contact us

ESRC Scholarships are managed by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Postgraduate Research Office. You can contact them at:

Student category