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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Innovation and Social Impact Scholarships

The Innovation and Social Impact scholarships give outstanding UK research students the opportunity to undertake doctoral study and drive social impact.

These scholarships are for those looking to make a difference in the world and achieve impact from their research through influencing policy, commercialising their research outputs or becoming a startup founder.

What do the Innovation and Social Impact Scholarships consist of?

The Scholarship will comprise;

The Scholarship aims to develop the next generation of researchers, blending original research with training in innovation, policy and its governance. The Innovation and Social Impact scholarships are comprised of two streams:

Innovation – for students with an interest in enterprise activities or creating startups

Students choosing this stream will have the opportunity to work with Future Worlds, the University’s on-campus startup accelerator who provide guidance and support on commercialisation of research outputs and creating a startup. Students will undertake a standard PhD programme but with a research project which has the potential for enterprise activity arising from the research. This programme is for students interested in undertaking cutting edge research with the potential for commercialisation.

Social Impact – for students with an interest in knowledge exchange and social impact

Students with an interest in knowledge exchange and social impact, including public engagement and policy, would undertake the social impact stream PhD. Students choosing this stream would receive additional support provided by Public Policy Southampton via their Policy Associates scheme, as well as placements and secondments and dedicated training.

Students will undertake a standard PhD programme but with a research project focused on delivering social impact by influencing or implementing policy, or engaging in other knowledge exchange activities. This programme is for students who can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and sustainability and who aspire to make a societal difference through their research and future personal and career goals.

Who is eligible for the Innovation and Social Impact Scholarships?

Applications are open to all candidates, including recent graduates and those who are not transitioning directly from an undergraduate or Master’s programme to doctoral study.

Applicants may hold (at least) one of the following:

1. Candidates must be in receipt of, or due to receive, an upper second-class honours undergraduate or integrated Masters degree; and/or

2. Candidates with a standalone Master’s qualification must have achieved a merit or, where this has yet to have been achieved, be able to provide evidence of high performance that will lead to a distinction. 

3. Evidence of prior professional practice or learning that meets the University's criteria and good practice guidelines for accreditation of prior experiential and/or certificated learning. Guidance is available in the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning policy.

4. Candidates must hold a conditional offer of admission to the University of Southampton commencing their studies in September 2024.

How do I apply for an Innovation and Social Impact Scholarship?

To be considered for the Innovation and Social Impact Scholarships, applicants must complete two steps.

Step 1: Complete an application for their chosen project using the University of Southampton application system. 

The first step of applying for a PhD project is to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your interest in this scholarship and the possibility of developing a PhD project together. You can view current PhD projects for Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM), or you are also able to propose your own PhD project by contacting a potential supervisor.

You can find potential PhD supervisors by simply typing in the subject you are interested in and looking for the green tick that indicates they are accepting new students. You can view a list of their research interests, published papers and current and previous PhD project supervisions.

On average, from application to receiving confirmation of a place of study can take six to eight weeks, so we advise that you apply by the end of January 2024 at the latest.

Apply for a PhD at Southampton

Step 2: Apply for the Innovation and Social Impact Scholarship

Apply for the Innovation and Social Impact Scholarship by completing an application form. This can be done in advance of receiving your official offer of a place of study, but please be aware that only applicants who have received such an offer will be considered for funding.

The deadline for Social Impact Scholarship applications to be received is Friday 29 March 2024, with successful applicants being notified before the end of April 2024.

Apply for an Innovation and Social Impact Scholarship
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