The ARIES application process
ARIES operates a three-stage application process:
1. Candidates apply to the University of Registration for the studentship
2. Supervisors shortlist, interview, and select their preferred candidate for their studentship for nomination to the DTP
3. Nominated candidates are assessed by the ARIES DTP interview panels
Where studentships are advertised as ‘funded opportunities’, this means that the studentship has been selected for priority funding within this recruitment cycle, and more than one candidate may be interviewed for these particular opportunities.
Eligible candidates may apply for up to three ARIES studentship projects each year. For 2021 the deadline for applications is midnight 12 January 2021. Applications should be made to the University of Registration of the project applied for – in all cases the link to the correct application portal may be found at the bottom of the studentship advertisement. Please note that even where studentships are hosted at non-University institutions, applications should be made through the University of Registration. Only formal applications will ultimately be considered for funding. A conversation with prospective supervisors before applying is recommended, so that applicants can get a good feel for the project and what it will involve.
Applications will need to be supported by various documentation.
If you have any difficulty with your application please contact either the University of Registration admission teams or us here at the DTP.
Following the application deadline, supervisors will shortlist their applicants, interview, and nominate one candidate for a further interview by the ARIES interview panels. All ARIES panel interviews will take place during a two-day period in February (17th and 18th February 2021), by panels convened according to our Candidate Selection Procedure. In 2021 we anticipate that interviews will be conducted remotely using online collaboration software such as Zoom.
ARIES interviews last for approximately 35 minutes, and are not an oral examination and will not involve a written test. You will not be expected to answer detailed questions on your degree subject area. Instead, the panel will be assessing the suitability of your achievements and experience to a programme of postgraduate study; your future potential as a PGR researcher; and your interest and enthusiasm for the research project for which you have applied.
You will be invited to give a brief informal talk, (no more than five minutes), about a scientific topic of interest of your choosing. You might want to talk about your dissertation, the project you have applied for, some work experience, or an area of environmental sciences that has been in the news recently. It is not necessary to prepare any visual aids, but if you would like to we request that they do not extend further than a single slide, or A4 page. The purpose of the presentation is to spark some follow-on questions from the panel. The interviewers will then ask you a series of broad questions about:
- What drew you the project to which you have applied, and the context of that project in a wider scientific and societal view
- What relevant experiences and qualities you have that would be beneficial to the project, and to your development as a scientist
- How you demonstrated initiative and independence in your studies, and overcome obstacles to progress
- What your longer term aspirations are beyond doctoral study, and how you see postgraduate research and training helping you achieve those goals
You will have a chance to ask questions at the end.
ARIES is committed to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, and if you require reasonable adjustments to take part in the interview process, please do contact us.
If you’re interested in some top tips for preparing for PhD interviews, one of our current students discusses the process in a recent blog post.
The ARIES Studentship Panel will meet shortly after the interviews to agree a ranked list of candidates for funding. Studentship offers will be made as soon as possible after this meeting, and we ask that you accept your offer by Wednesday 17th March 2021 at the latest.