falmouth landscape
Photo Credit: Falmouth University

3D3 NPIF PhD Studentships

Please follow links to Falmouth University, Plymouth University or UWE Bristol  to find out more about which research areas are supported in each University.  Applicants must indicate their preferred host institution in their application although it is also possible to suggest a supervisory team with members drawn from two of these universities.  All students will be formally registered at the one in which their Director of Studies is located.


Awards are made on the basis of the quality of the application, with no fixed quota assigned to any institution or any of the three main subject areas: digital design, digital media and digital arts (including music and performance). Proposals for interdisciplinary research that cross these permeable subject boundaries are very welcome. All 3D3 thesis projects must be undertaken through a practice-led research methodology.


Please note that the 3D3 consortium may offer you an interview or studentship place at an institution or within a research unit which you did not originally propose, should this be deemed a more appropriate environment for the particular nature of your project. The Expression of Interest (EoI) process is intended to ensure that you direct your application to the institution and unit best suited to your research within the consortium.


PhD Studentship Funding

All 3D3 doctoral studentships comprise tuition fees at Home/EU rates and, only for award holders deemed UK for fees purposes, a maintenance award (£14,777 per year at 2018/19 rates) tenable for a minimum period of 3 academic years. Part-time studentships comprise tuition fees and a pro-rata maintenance award for a 5 year period.


The period of studentship can be extended by undertaking a work placement, arts residency or internship. Please note that all full-time candidates must submit their theses within 4 years (6 years for part-time candidates), regardless of the length of funding.


All 3D3 students will have expenses reimbursed related to attendance at the Centre’s residential research training workshops (when these do not take place at their home institution), and access to a discretionary fund to help pay for items such as attendance at external conferences and symposia, archival visits and so on.


Please note that while most 3D3 students are funded by the AHRC, some are funded by the universities in the consortium. You will be told if the latter applies to you but all 3D3 students are subject to the same eligibility and quality requirements and (if relevant) will receive the same stipends and benefits within the consortium.


Eligibility for PhD Studentships

  • 3D3 PhD studentships are only open to UK and EU applicants who propose to undertake practice-led research in digital art, media, design and/or performance in (or across) named research units at Falmouth UniversityPlymouth University or UWE Bristol.
  • EU students are eligible for a tuition fees award only from the AHRC but in exceptional cases a stipend will be offered by the 3D3 consortium.
  • You may apply to study either full-time or part-time.
  • Students who are currently registered for a PhD programme are not eligible to apply for these awards.
  • Successful applicants will normally have achieved at least a 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant first degree and demonstrate their potential for practice-led research through a master’s qualification and/or through alternative evidence of research aptitude.
  • Applicants require a recognised English language qualification. The minimum entry requirement is GCSE English at grade C or above or IELTS score 7.0 or TOEFL score 600 (or demonstrable equivalent).
  • Awards may not be deferred and must be taken in the next academic year. You can reapply.


PhD Studentship Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be taken into account when awarding 3D3 doctoral studentships:


  • The strength of your academic profile, as demonstrated through previous study and/or a body of practice. (Please note that under AHRC criteria, candidates are normally expected to have gained a masters degree prior to taking up the studentship, although exceptions are possible).
  • The quality, invention and viability of your research proposal.
  • The match of your research proposal to the profile, supervisory expertise, resources and environment of the 3D3 consortium in general and the proposed institution and research unit, in particular.


Applying for a PhD Studentship


To apply for a PhD studentship, you must use the application form specific to the 3D3 Centre for Doctoral Training. You can download this form from the relevant call page under the ‘Funding Opportunities’ tab.


We have prepared detailed guidelines to help you complete the application, which you can also download below. Please read these carefully and ensure that you adhere to the character limits and provide any supplementary material that is required. Applicants who exceed the character limit of Section 7 of the application form will be disqualified from the competition.


The 3D3 application form will ask you to tell us at which institution you intend to be based, but all the applications must be sent to UWE Bristol in the first instance as the administrative centre for the consortium.


The 3D3 co-ordinator at UWE Bristol will send your application to the relevant institution where it will be considered in detail by the staff who are potential supervisors. If your application is considered to be high quality and can be adequately supervised, you will be invited to interview at the institution in which you are to be based. Final decisions will be made after interviews have taken place (please see ‘Key Dates’ below).


Supplementary Material

In addition to your application form, and at the same time, you will need to submit some additional documents and material. These include a CV (3 pages maximum), evidence of your English language qualifications (if you do not have a degree from a UK institution), a sample of critical writing (3000 words maximum), and evidence of your ability to undertake the practice-led research you are proposing (e.g. a DVD, portfolio, links to website, reviews, catalogue, etc.). You also must enclose an Equal Opportunities monitoring form (which you can download below).


Please note that no other supplementary material will be considered by the studentship selection panel (e.g. an extended proposal or personal statement/covering letter or essays/theses over 3000 words).


You will also need to arrange for two references to arrive by the application deadline. You can download a reference form below (please fill in the top section and send it to  your referees to complete). These must be sent directly to 3d3@uwe.ac.uk by your referees, and not attached to your application.