About the SWDTP

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) consists of 5 South-West universities:

What we offer

The SWDTP offers PhD students funding (and a stipend) to study in one of 17 subject pathways as well as offering a range of further funding for additional projects.

The SWDTP focuses on collaboration between the universities, which includes sharing best practice, resources and academic knowledge. As well as developing tailored training programmes for our students and staff, the Partnership also supports a wide variety of collaborative activities, including events and student placements, in public, private and civic society organisations.


The SWDTP is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)– an organisation comprised of the seven UK research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. As the biggest investor in Social Science Research in the UK, the ESRC supports “independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society”.

The SWDTP has been accredited by the ESRC and has been allocated 45 ESRC-funded studentships annually. These studentships fund Social Science researchers at all five partner universities through their PhD research, including funding placements, fieldwork and overseas institutional visits.

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership is committed to:

  • Promoting excellent, innovative, diverse and interdisciplinary research
  • Enhancing and extending excellent research environments
  • Fostering transferable research skills and career development of researchers
  • Facilitating academic and non-academic collaboration and impact

The first SWDTP cohort started in October 2017. Our Partnership builds upon the success of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) which was established in 2011 by the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter.

We have extended our strategic partnership to include the University of Plymouth and the University of the West of England (UWE), bringing together social science academic leaders across our 17 disciplinary and interdisciplinary pathways.

The Partnership benefits from the leadership and research knowledge available from all five institutions and also from the SWDTC/P cohort of students, as we currently have over 300 ESRC funded researchers throughout the South West.

Meet the hard working SWDTP team here