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16 fully funded, four-year PhD studentships are available in SOFI2 CDT commencing in September 2020, for graduates in the physical and biological sciences, mathematics and engineering.

We would be particularly interested in receiving applications from students with an interest in Experimental Soft Matter Physics.

A selection of the available project studentships that are available for the September 2020 cohort may be found at We will be adding further projects in due course to this list.

Applications to join the SOFI2 CDT will be accepted through the Durham University online application portal and applicants should complete the Online Application Form.

Applications for this programme will continue to be accepted for a start date in September 2020.

Notes for completing the University Online Application Form;

  1. Program Applied For. The course name is PhD in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (EPSRC CDT).

  2. Department. When asked to indicate an academic department please put Chemistry. This does not imply that you will be joining a chemistry program! This is required since all PG students must be registered with a department and the chemistry department will be administering SOFI 2CDT admissions.

  3. Accommodation. We anticipate that all successful applicants will be offered (acceptance is not compulsory) accommodation and membership of the SOFI2 home college - St Marys’ College.

  4. Field of Study. Please feel free to describe your field(s) of scientific interest.

  5. Research Proposal. You do not need to upload a Research Proposal to your online application. Please ignore this part of the process.

  6. Finance and Funding. All successful applicants will be offered a SOFI2 CDT PhD studentship which covers both tuition fees (at UK and EU level) and a living allowance. However the studentship will not cover tuition fees for international/overseas students.

  7. For further information on determining fee status for non-UK applicants please visit the UKCISA Fees Status website.

Please also complete and send the following forms via email to

  1. The SOFI CDT pre-registration form (click the title to download)

  2. A full CV (including undergraduate module marks and exam results)


Please ask two academic referees to complete the reference forms. These should be returned to the SOFI CDT directly via email to Referees may download the form (Word format) using the link above.

Please note, your application cannot be considered until we have all this information.

Contact Information

Mrs L Grieve
SOFI CDT Administrator
Department of Chemistry
Science Laboratories

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 334 2002
Fax: +44(0) 191 334 2051


Entry Requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have one of:

  • A minimum of an upper second class honours degree from a 4-year integrated Masters undergraduate course in an appropriate physical or biological science, food science, mathematics or engineering.

  • A 3-year undergraduate BSc in one of the above disciplines plus a Masters degree and/or one year experience in a relevant industry

We also encourage applications from mature students and students with alternative career paths, who are recommended to discuss the suitability of their preparation for the course with the Director of Recruitment ( before applying.

Information about equivalent entry qualifications for non-UK students can be found at

Non-native English speakers require an English language qualification, such as IELTS (6.5 with no element less than 6.0).

We welcome applications from UK and EU students but due to funding/eligibility restrictions we are currently unable to accept applications from international students.

However, international students with an interest in carrying out a PhD in the field of soft matter are encouraged to visit our website (, identify potential PhD supervisors and contact them directly to discuss alternative funding arrangements.