The ARIES application process

ARIES operates a four-stage application process:

  1. Candidates apply to the University of Registration for the studentship (by 10 Jan 2024)
  2. Supervisors shortlist, interview, and select their preferred candidate for nomination to the DTP
  3. Nominated candidates are invited to apply to the ARIES DTP (by 14 Feb 2024)
  4. Nominated candidates are assessed by the ARIES DTP interview panels

1. Application to the University of Registration

Eligible candidates may apply to up to three ARIES studentship projects each year. 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 understanding of 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.

2. Nomination by the Supervisor

Following the application deadline, supervisors will shortlist their applicants, interview, and nominate one candidate for a further interview by the ARIES interview panels. This process involves the supervisor writing a statement about why their chosen candidate should be considered for an ARIES PhD. If there are other partners involved in the PhD project they can also include statements of support for the candidate.

3. Application to the ARIES DTP

Nominated candidates will be contacted by the ARIES DTP and invited to apply using a specific form and by supplying the required documentation. When the documentation is received candidates will be invited to interview. If the documentation and application form are not received by Wednesday 14 Feb 12:00 your application will not be progressed.

4. Interviews

All ARIES panel interviews will take place during the week commencing 26 February, by panels convened according to our Candidate Selection Procedure. In 2024 interviews will be conducted remotely using the Zoom online platform.

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 postgraduate researcher (PGR); 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.  This should not involve sub-sets of slides. 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.

Studentship offers

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 20th March 2024 at the latest.