How to Apply
Applying for a SustAI CDT Studentship
Applications for the 2024 entry will be open soon.
The programme of study
Students participating in the UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in AI for Sustainability – or SustAI for short – undertake a four-year (FT) integrated PhD at the University of Southampton in one of five themes:
– AI for Sustainable Operations and Circular Economy
– AI for Transportation and Logistics
– AI for Sustainable Energy and Buildings
– AI for Biodiversity
– Sutainable AI
Funded students will receive an enhanced stipend which is tax free, plus UK tuition fees for four years (conditions apply). Part-time study is also possible. EU students and those from Horizon associated countries are now also eligible for UK fees for this PhD programme.
How to Apply
There will be multiple application rounds with the first one closing on 8 January 2024. Applications are not yet open but will be available very soon. In the meantime, you can register your interest through the following form: Sign up for the newsletter here
What we’re looking for
We’re looking for students who are enthusiastic about AI and environmental sustainability. As part of the application process, we ask you to you write a 1,200-1,500 word research outline telling us: what research topic you’re interested in; what you have already read about it; and why it is exciting for you. Your research idea should focus on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) for engineering a more environmentally sustainable future, and it should be within the scope of one or more of the CDT’s five research themes.
Appropriate adjustments will be made to ensure that students with additional needs can access and benefit from the range of learning and teaching offered throughout the programme. Student needs will be assessed by the University’s Enabling Services team, and the CDT Management team will ensure that these needs are met. The University and CDT will ensure that additional needs are appropriately funded, including UKRI Disabled Students’ Allowances scheme funding.
The studentship will cover UK course fees and an enhanced tax-free stipend of approx. £21,500 per year for 4 years along with a substantial budget for research, travel, and centre activities. We are pleased to announce that students from EU countries and other Horizon associated countries are now also eligible for a full studentship (covering tuition fees and living expenses stipend). For any questions regarding the funding eligibility, please get in touch with email@example.com We are also happy to accept applications onto the programme from those who have a funded scholarship from another source or are able to self-fund (proof of funds will be required).
The AI for Sustainability CDT is multidisciplinary, and we welcome applicants from diverse disciplines, including but not limited to: engineering, social science, economics, business, computer science, mathematics, electronics and physical science. Students should have an interest in multidisciplinary research, and an aptitude for data analytics as well as other skills relevant to one or more of the core themes within the CDT. Applicants must already have, or expect to shortly graduate with, a very good undergraduate degree or Master’s degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree) – or an equivalent international qualification from a high ranking university – in a relevant subject. Academic attainment is only one of our criteria for selection; we equally value the ability to work in teams, excitement for research, enthusiasm for the research focus of the CDT and the ability to communicate ideas. EU and Overseas applicants should achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each competency.
If you’d like to ask any questions before applying, please email get in touch with the SustAI team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can also arrange for a phone/zoom call from a current PhD student who can tell you more about doing a PhD at the University of Southampton.
Q. How can I apply?
A. The application form will become available soon. As part of the application, you need to provide your academic transcript(s) and a research statement.
Q. What are your entry requirements?
A. A good undergraduate degree or Master degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in an area related to your research topic. If in doubt, please contact us.
Q. I don’t have a background in computer science/engineering/AI. Can I still apply?
A. Yes the PhD programme is multi-disciplinary and we welcome applicants with different backgrounds and degrees. It is important that your research project is aligned with the overall CDT topic of AI for Sustainability and at least one of the themes, and that your background is relevant to the chosen topic.
Q. Do you have any English language requirements?
A. Yes for EU and Overseas applicants, unless they have been studying in the UK for a few years (to check whether you qualify for an exemption contact us). The requirement is an IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each competency.
Q. Do you accept international applicants?
A. Yes, we do.
Q: Is the funding available for international applicants?
A. The scholarship will cover full fees for EU and Horizon associated countries. For all other countries, the scholarship will only cover UK fees.
Q. What are the career prospective for SustAI PhDs?
A. The prospective is wide open, from academia to industry and government. We work closely with industry and government organisations. Some of our students may be partially sponsored by non-academic organisations. This close relationship helps tremendously in finding diverse career opportunities.
Q. What is the structure of this PhD?
A. The PhD structure is based on Southampton’s integrated PhD framework which provides flexibility and can accommodate students with different needs and backgrounds. The first year will consist mainly of taught modules followed by a mini project. Training will continue in subsequent years through general Southampton-offered short training as well as dedicated enhanced training. Students can also audit additional modules across the university. In addition, all students will be required to participate in annual cohort building activities throughout their training.
Q. What is the structure of the first year of this iPhD?
A. In the first 2 semesters you take modules, 5 of which are core modules, designed and delivered by SustAI. You will choose 3 other modules from a variety of optional modules available. You will have to choose your project and supervisory team by April and will start the feasibility study with your supervisors over the summer.
Q. What support structure is provided for SustAI students?
A. At the start, each student is assigned a personal academic tutor, as well as a mentor from the current CDT students. The CDT manager and cohort lead are available to answer different queries related to CDT matters. There are monthly student meetings (involving all CDT students) and weekly, informal cohort Catch-ups. You will also be assigned a student mentor, i.e. a more senior PhD student from a related programme.
Q. What are the available projects for the new students?
A. Projects will be officially advertised to all new CDT students around November.
Q. Am I committed to the project proposal I put in my application?
A. No. We work with all our students to identify and choose the projects that suit them best. You are not committed to the project you identify in your application.
Q. Are SustAI students assigned a project and supervisory team at the start?
A. No. We understand that it is not easy to know what project you are most interested in before you join the program and officially start your PhD. This is why we work with all our students to identify and choose the projects that suit them best.