NINE DTP is offering two studentships to UK-domiciled individuals of Black, Asian, or mixed Black or Asian heritage via our Action for Equality Scheme.

We are keen to hear from all applicants from these under-represented groups

NINE DTP is committed to recruiting candidates with novel ideas and a passion for their research area. Our aim is to create a diverse and inclusive postgraduate community which can come together to tackle big societal issues and produce world-class research that seeks to improve the lives of peoples and societies around the world. Crucially, we are a training partnership and our objective is to train excellent early career social science researchers from all backgrounds.

We value diversity within our partnership and believe that this diversity enriches our PGR community, the experiences of our doctoral candidates, and our research culture. It further enhances the quality of the research produced within our community, and the social scientists we support. NINE DTP is therefore committed to a policy of enhanced action to support those groups who have traditionally been under-represented within our research environment.

NINE DTP recognises that we need to take positive action to foster a more inclusive and diverse postgraduate research community, and therefore launched our ‘Action for Equality’ agenda in 2020. As part of this agenda, we are particularly keen to encourage and support UK-domiciled Black or Asian-heritage individuals (including those with a mixed ethnic background) within the NINE DTP studentship competition. We are therefore pleased to offer a number of initiatives designed to encourage and support applicants from these specific under-represented backgrounds in applying for UKRI funding with NINE DTP. This includes the NINE Action for Equality (AforE) competition.

The AforE Scheme
NINE DTP are pleased to announce that from 2021 UK-domiciled candidates from Black British, British Asian, or mixed Black or Asian heritage, may be submitted to the AforE competition alongside the NINE DTP Studentship competition.

The AforE competition is run according to the same guidelines and procedures of the NINE Studentship competition, with eligible candidates being submitted to both the NINE DTP studentship competition and the AforE scheme via the same initial process.

Entry to the scheme requires no additional work from either supervisor or applicant. The Supervisor only need indicate eligibility of the candidate for the scheme on the front page of the NINE DTP nomination form.

AforE Guidance

Download a copy of the NINE DTP Annual Studentship Competition Guidelines

Guidelines (pdf)

NINE DTP Full Guidance

Download a copy of the NINE DTP Annual Studentship Competition Guidelines

Guidelines (pdf)

The application process

Applying for an AforE studentship follows the same process as the NINE DTP Studentship scheme, and candidates are not expected to need to provide any additional information in order to apply.

Candidacy for the AforE studentships will not in any way impact on your candidacy for a NINE Studentship.

1 Eligibility
All candidates need to fulfill the eligibility criterion of the NINE DTP studentship competition, and need to be applying via a recognised training pathway to study in an eligible department.

In addition, to be eligible for the AforE scheme, applications must be UK-domiciled candidates of Black or Asian heritage (including those with a mixed ethnic background).

2 Apply to study at the university of your choice
All candidates should apply to study at their chosen institution, submitting all documents and evidence required by the university together with any additional information required of any NINE DTP applicant (see here for details).


Ask your supervisor to nominate you for a NINE DTP award. To do so, they will need to complete the NINE DTP Nomination form.

They should also indicate your eligibility for the AforE Scheme on the Nomination form, allowing you to be entered into both competitions.

Nomination Form

Your Supervisor will need to nominate you for funding. Make sure you have their support, and ask that they complete the nomination form.

Additional Support

In addition to the AforE Studentship Scheme, NINE DTP are keen to encourage and support applicants from Black British and British Asian backgrounds seeking UKRI funds via NINE DTP in other ways. As part of our Action for Equality strategy, candidates who meet the ring-fenced studentship criteria may request a meeting with the DTP Director during the Autumn term. As Chair of both the NINE DTP and AforE Studentship Committees, the Director can meet with candidates individually (or in small groups if demand is high) to provide additional advice and guidance on creating and presenting a competitive application in our PhD funding competition. Candidates need not take up the opportunity if they do not wish to, but should they wish to seek this additional support they should contact the DTP team in Durham who will look to arrange the meeting ([email protected]).

Further, should candidates wish, we can work to put them in contact with current award holders, or academics, from Black-British and British Asian backgrounds for an informal discussion with the candidate around their application, or their experiences of being a Doctoral Student.

Candidates may also wish to listen to some of Dr Tina Sikka's podcast series with current scholars and eminent minority-ethnic academics in the Social Science -