PhD research opportunities

Information for UK academic institutions, research groups or research centres about calls for PhD funding.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) operates two main PhD programmes (the defence and security PhD programme and the UK-France PhD programme) as well as various smaller individual PhD calls. Calls for PhD-level research will each have a different theme and application process. We welcome applications to PhD level research calls from UK institutions with leading academics, research groups or research centres.

We do not accept applications from individual students; if you are a student you will need to approach a relevant department at a university.

Defence and Security PhD Call 2016: Enhanced Detector Paper

Dstl intends to fund a single PhD studentship to develop future, innovative ‘Enhanced Detector Paper’ technology, that can visually disclose the presence of deposited liquid chemical warfare agents (CWAs) including G- and V-series nerve agents and sulfur mustard. Find out more about this PhD call.

PhD call 2016: Novel Fabrication and Characterisation of Thermite Structures

The key aim of this research is to review, understand and develop new processing techniques for thermite products with potential applications relevant to defence and security. Find out more about this PhD call.

UK-France PhD programme

The UK-France PhD programme is jointly managed by Dstl and Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA). In 2011, the Anglo-French Summit agreed that it was one of the 10 priorities for the Anglo-French Defence Research Group (AFDRG). In 2012, the programme funded 9 PhDs (5 from the UK and 4 from France). The programme funded 10 PhDs (5 from the UK and 5 from France) in both 2013 and 2014.

The 2016 UK-France PhD call is now open. Dstl is looking for proposals for 5 PhDs in a number of areas of interest including biology and biotechnology, defence and security foresight, environment and geosciences, and big data among others. Expressions of interest for the programme should be submitted by Friday 4 March 2016. Find out more about the 2016 UK-France PhD call.

Defence and security PhD programme

The Defence and Security PhD programme is delivered by Dstl and is funded by the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) Chief Scientific Adviser. It provides an opportunity for universities to apply to Dstl for PhD funding. The 2015 call is now closed. The programme publishes an annual call; the details for 2016 will be published here.


For more information about our PhD programmes, please email