Study at Oxford: Doctoral Training Partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships



Doctoral Training Partneships provide an innovative, individually-tailored training programme that includes taught courses and the opportunity for students to undertake research projects with prospective supervisors and focussed training programmes in their first year before choosing their main DPhil* project from a wide range of research projects available across the University. Students will also undertake a 3-month professional internship to gain direct experience of the areas of work into which they can apply their skills.

Oxford University runs a number of Doctoral Training Centres, supported by UK Research Councils, covering a wide range of subjects. Listed below is information about some of the DTPs most relevant to those interested in studying food system research.

If you would like further information of how the Systems Biology DTC compares to the Life Science Interface DTC and the Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science IDC, please refer to this comparison.


*Note: In Oxford, the degree qualification commonly referred to as a Doctorate of Philosophy or PhD is known as a DPhil.


The Oxford DTP in Environmental Research seeks to recruit the most promising research students, from a wide variety of backgrounds, capable of developing their own research projects in line with the interests of our broad selection of supervisors. Each year around 20 students will be accepted into the DTP Programme through one of the below Research Streams.

They encourage applications from students with a wide range of academic backgrounds, including Archaeology, Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Computing, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Meteorology, Physics, Statistics, Zoology.

Full Research Council funded studentships may be available for this programme. Click here for more information.

The DTP offers a novel training environment across three broad science streams, each of which includes the influence of, and consequences for, human-environment interactions:

  • Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Processes - spans research into biological processes, systems and their interactions at scales ranging from the organism to the population in spheres ranging from human health to natural ecysystems, over all timescales.
  • Physical Climate System -spans research across all aspects of the Physical Climate System; present, past and future, with srong links to climate impacts and mitigation.
  • Dynamic Earth, Surface Processes and Natural Hazards- spans activities from theoretical seismology and isotope geochemistry to the analysis of natural resources, quantification of surface processes over all timescales, and geophysical hazards and risk.

To see which members of the Food Research Network are supervisors on the Environmental Research DTP, please see this page.

You can apply to the Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership, a 4-year rotation PhD programme in which students have the opportunity to carry out two 12 week research projects with different supervisors within the University, as well as undertaking courses in the skills needed for interdisciplinary research before selecting a PhD supervisor and research project.

Research within the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP programme spans the full diversity of world class bioscience research across the university, with a particular focus on the following priority areas:

1. Integrative Animal and Plant Biology

2. Mechanistic Molecular and Cellular Bioscience

3. Bioscience for Food, Industry and Energy

4. Transformative Technologies


Students with a strong interest in the use of computational, statistical and mathematical approaches in food-related scientific research can also consider applying to the Life Science Interface Doctoral Training Centre, which offer 4-year rotation PhDs, and the opportunity for students with a background in the physical sciences to obtain training in the fundamental concepts and techniques used in interdisciplinary life science research.

The LSI DTC is an innovative 4-year D.Phil. programme that provides comprehensive training in the application of mathematical, physical, computational and engineering science techniques to leading-edge research in the biomedical and life sciences.

Students enrolled in the programme come from a very wide range of academic background including Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry and Computing.

The programme focuses on four interlinked research areas:

  • Biological Physics 
  • Medical Imaging and Signals 
  • Bioinformatics, Evolution and Genetics 
  • and Computational Biology.

The Grand Union DTP is an ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership uniting The University of Oxford, the Open University and Brunel University London. The partnership builds on the recognised research and doctoral training strengths of all three institutions.  The DTP covers 24 subject areas (‘pathways’), themed into five broad clusters. Different pathways offer students opportunities to:

·      undertake a research Masters’ course followed by a PhD (known as ‘1+3’, ‘2+2’ or ‘2+3’ routes)

·      enter directly onto a PhD having already completed appropriate Masters-level training (‘+3’)

·      undertake doctoral study over a longer period (‘+4’) in order to gain Master-level training and skills in a flexible and personalised way, meeting individual students’ needs.



The partnership offers at least 35 studentships each year across 24 training pathways, broadly clustered into the following areas:

  • society and wellbeing
  • rights and freedoms
  • learning and cognition
  • globalisation and development
  • economics and management