Project Proposal FAQs

Zoonoses project proposals must be submitted by Noon on 1st January 2024 using the online survey: CDT Applications 2024. Once the application deadline has passed, a project selection panel comprised of at least one representative from each institution will first score then jointly scrutinise projects and select the top 40 for advertisement. You will be informed of the outcome of this process by mid January. Preview of the form can be downloaded here: CDT Project Application Survey Preview.

In 2023, cohort 1 had 20 studentships. Similar numbers are expected for cohorts 2 and 3. For each cohort, the NERC/BBSRC/MRC awards 16 notional studentships to the CDT and the four academic institutions are contributing additional funds to uplift this number to 20. 

16/10/2023 - 2024 Project Call Open - 01/01/2024 - 2024 Project Call Deadline - Mid - January  - Supervisors notified of the CDT panel selection of projects - Mid - January - Projects advertised on CDT website and externally - Mid - January - Student applications Open - March 2024 - Student Applications Close - March 2024  - Student Applications forwarded to Lead Supervisors to select candidates for interviews - March / April 2024 - Applicant/ Supervisor Interviews - April 2024 - Supervisor submits report to CDT outlining first and reserve choice candidates - May 2024 - Management Board scores shortlist of candidates and candidates notified - May 2024 - Management Board interviews candidates and UKRI offers extended - 1st October 2024 - Official Funding Start Date  

The CDT is funded for three consecutive intakes, this is the second intake. Depending on the number of projects submitted, we might limit the number of projects that can be submitted by lead supervisors in Year three. Supervisors can be co-supervisors on an unlimited number of projects in all years.

Yes. If you were unsuccessful, you might consider reviewing the selection criteria to strengthen your project, to assess how it fits the themes of the CDT, and consider how to improve the advertising text/title to be more attractive.

In line with UKRI requirements for the CDT, all projects must demonstrate a strong environmental component and should address at least one of these three key challenges in identifying environmental drivers of, and solutions to, infectious diseases:
  1. Disease Preparedness: detection, environmental monitoring (novel sampling approaches; innovative technologies/diagnostics), horizon scanning and risk assessment;
  2. Disease Transmission: pathways and connectivity of drivers of infection, disease emergence and spread (the effects of anthropogenic and environmental change, evolution, human and animal movement patterns, socioeconomic and political drivers);
  3. Disease Control: integrated solutions for sustainable management and mitigation of zoonoses (environmental, socio-political and therapeutic barriers to transmission, including changing habitat, landuse and animal practices).
Interdisciplinary research is strongly encouraged.

There is no maximum number of supervisors. For supervisors on fixed term contracts, at least one of the supervisory team should have a contract lasting the full term of the studentship (3.5 years full time or 7 years part time). The application form allows space for up to four, so please use those spaces to identify the main supervisory staff and include the remainder as a project team in the later sections. Those listed as co-supervisors will be required to have a greater level of involvement in the student’s progression monitoring and research training than would be the case in a non-CDT studentship. Less experienced supervisory teams may include an experienced supervisor to act in a ‘mentoring’ role, this is strongly encouraged. Also, we encourage ECR to be part of the supervisory team so that they can be trained as PhD supervisors. Please note: projects that require use of specialist resources or techniques should include a relevant supervisor in the team.

The majority of communications will be directed via the lead supervisor, who will be expected to cascade the information onto the rest of their team. This is to try and reduce the volume of communication the CDT hub has to process.

Yes. The CDT aims to show what can be achieved by harnessing the combined power of four research intensive universities. We have given an undertaking that 100% of projects will be across two or more partners at Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Queen’s University Belfast and LSHTM. Collaboration can mean access to laboratories, specific training, etc., not just co-supervision. However, experience has shown that one of the most effective ways of building collaboration and cohesion across a network and adding extra value to the student experience is through co-supervision.

Yes, and this is compulsory. The CDT seeks to have 100% co-designed projects with end-users, and each supervisory team should involve an industrial partner representative. In some cases, the CDT will consider instead an overseas academic if these are in an ODA country. A partner letter of support must be submitted with your project proposal (email this to

List of Partners found here

Other than the compulsory supervision role, the CDT expects industrial partners to be involved in a number of ways, such as: Student supervision and management, access to data, software, resources, equipment, materials or facilities, hosting of the student in the organisation, a financial contribution: e.g. a contribution towards the student’s research costs (a Research Support Training Grant) e.g. for fieldwork / specialist training needed for the particular project etc. High quality, high engagement industrial partner project proposals will carry premium in the selection process.

A CASE STUDENTSHIP INCLUDES A MINIMUM CONTRIBUTION OF £1,000 PER ANNUM TO THE STUDENT’S RTSG AND A MINIMUM THREE MONTH PLACEMENT (UP TO 18 MONTHS) WHICH CAN BE SPREAD OVER THE PROJECT LIFETIME. CASE studentships give students access to training, facilities and expertise not available in an academic setting. The CASE partner can come from the public, private or third sector. However, organisations eligible to receive UKRI research funding are not allowed to be a CASE partner. There is also an expectation that the partner will cover a student’s out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel to the site, and provide access to the resources, facilities and equipment necessary to carry out the project. At Annex A is a template for a letter of support from industrial partners, which is required as part of your application, and should be submitted to by the same deadline as the online application. At Annex B is a template for a CASE letter of support from industrial partners along with detailed information on what is a CASE studentship.

Full-time studentships will be of 3.5 years duration and part-time will be of 7 years duration. Supervisors can indicate on their project submission form whether they feel the project is compatible with part-time working patterns. Our award has been calculated on this basis. Applications for a longer duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as the grant allows for flexibility. The elements of the studentship are: fees (UK/EU rate); UKRI national minimum stipend; and RTSG. Please note: the funding is linked to the successful student. If the student withdraws at any stage, the funding will be re-allocated by the Management Board to the next best ranked student on the list. Therefore, supervisors will not automatically be able to re-advertise their project for a new student.

Each studentship will include an RTSG (Research Training Support Grant) as a contribution toward basic consumables and training. NERC notionally allocates £11,000 per student . As set out in the bid, the OneZoo CDT is offering 3.5 year full-time and 7 year part-time studentships, with the first 12 months involving cohort training no matter the mode of attendance (full or part time). The CDT will therefore retain and centrally manage £2,750 of each student’s RTSG to help cover their cohort training expenses. The remaining fund of £8,250 per student is a contribution towards the research, training and development costs of the student, over the lifetime of the project. Project proposals should outline how the research costs will be met whilst leaving sufficient funds for activities such as conference attendance, overseas opportunities, workshops, advanced training and travel to development opportunities etc. The RTSG can be used for the purchase of laptops, or as a contribution towards the cost of a laptop, if standard provision is not considered adequate. Note that there are specific rules governing the use of RTSG funds, which cannot be used to purchase consumables or equipment which would normally be expected to be provided by the institution.

The RTSG and any supplement awarded, will be made available to the student and lead supervisor via the host institution. It is the responsibility of the supervisory team to manage the funds across institutions, to ensure costs are within budget. Reimbursement of RTSG expenditure is made annually at the year-end; host institutions/schools claim actual expenditure in arrears from Cardiff University. Co-supervisory institutions will not receive a portion of tuition fees.

Training details will be provided on the CDT website. In addition, please see an extract from the CDT bid available as a download from the website. Please note: engagement with the CDT training programme is compulsory for both students and the supervisory team. Continued sponsorship is contingent on that engagement. Please note that one of the main differences between a studentship in a CDT or DTP and a standalone PhD is that there is a substantial amount of cohort training in competencies and broader skills sets than the student may need for their individual project. This is delivered to students as a group, which also helps the building of a cohesive and supportive community of researchers. Thus, training and cohort building events are mandatory for students to attend. Supervisors should recognise this and be supportive of students spending time away from their own research. Therefore, at the first progress monitoring or upgrade point, supervisors need to take account of the fact that as a result of this additional training, CDT students may not have achieved as much in terms of their project outcomes as may traditionally be expected of non-CDT students.

We are not running a 1+3 programme; however, if relevant, the student can undertake Masters modules.

We do not need a formal budget for reviewing projects; however, your own institution may require this to ensure the project will not be underfunded. Proposals need to outline anticipated highs costs and potential funding sources on the Supervisor Project Proposal Form. By submitting a project, you are undertaking to underwrite high project costs that are not covered by the studentship grant, hence a requirement to confirm institutional approval.

Project proposals should be approved at institutional level before being submitted to the CDT. This will be a light-touch screening, primarily to ensure the supervisor/School/Dept. has the operational capacity and the supervisory team satisfies the local supervisory regulations. You will be asked to check a box on the application form to confirm you have received institutional approval before submission of your project proposal e.g. from a OneZoo CDT co-director/Head of School/Faculty. Project screening will be made on the basis of scientific and training excellence, and alignment with the strategic priorities of the CDT and will be scored against the following criteria: 1.The suitability of the OneZoo supervisory team namely as regards track record and access to facilities 2. The suitability of the research project in terms of fitness to the OneZoo priority areas, clear question defined, originality and/or significance and feasibility 3. Consideration of EDI for the student, supervisory team and the research discipline In preparing project proposals, supervisors may also want to make reference to the following: UKRI Statement of Expectations, NERC Success Criteria for Training UKRI Call for this bid:

The record of the proposed supervisory team in attracting research funding will be taken as evidence of a high-quality research environment in which the student will work. There is no requirement that the funding is UKRI, but if there are no UKRI grants then the supervisors will want to highlight other funding.

The lead supervisor will be informed if their project has been approved.Successful project proposals will be advertised on the OneZoo CDT website collectively, and a generic advert placed on Each partner will advertise on their own website and via other advertising channels, e.g. specific project adverts on FindAPhD via their institutional licence. Standard text will be provided for applicant guidance, including terms and conditions.

Students will need to meet the standard academic eligibility criteria: a first or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject; a less than sufficient first degree may be enhanced to meet the requirements by the acquisition of a Masters. Students will need to meet the English Language requirements of their home institution. The CDT student application form asks, if applicable, whether the student has taken the IELTS test and met the required level; taken the test and failed to meet the level; or needs to take the test. This question is for administration purposes only; the Management Board will not be made aware of applicant’s English language skills during the shortlisting process. We have requested this information as a simple check, in particular to encourage applicants to consider their eligibility against the requirements. Successful applicants will still need to meet the requirements of their home institution. Post Brexit, EU students now pay international fees (if any queries please check with your home institution). We will be looking to appoint 30 % international students (6 students in Year 1).

The CDT application process aims to select the best applicants and will make an ‘offer of funding’. The host institution will be responsible for checking eligibility and making an ‘offer to study’. The process for applying will be made clear on the advertisements, but offer of study will be applied for after the offer of funding from the OneZoo CDT. Applicants will apply via a centralised online application form direct to the CDT. After the closing deadline all application forms will be forwarded to the Lead Supervisor of the projects to which the student applied, where supervisors will need to contact and meet (face-to-face or virtually) with potential candidates, to aid with shortlisting of students for interviews by the OneZoo Management Board. The application to the CDT is for an ‘offer of funding’ from OneZoo. Once all interviews have been held and candidates identified, the application for an 'offer of study' will need to be made to the home institution.

Supervisors of the projects will be required to nominate their preferred and reserve candidate to OneZoo having shortlisted against the following criteria:
  1. Why the student is keen to pursue a zoonoses PhD?
  2. What experience they have of relevant research and interdisciplinary work?
  3. Whether they have the necessary personal and academic skills to complete their PhD project
  4. Whether the OneZoo CDT is suited to the student and is likely to best contribute to their career.
Nominated candidates will be interviewed by a central CDT interview panel, which aims to have representation from each University and some of our research partners. The interviews, application form and supervisor report will all contribute to the panel’s considerations for allocating studentships. The Management Board will allocate studentships based primarily on candidate quality ranking and student choice, but also taking account of the scientific strategy of the CDT, ensuring balance across themes and strategic skills (see para 26).

The overriding goal of the CDT is to recruit excellent students. That said, the CDT seeks to recruit students in approximately equal numbers to the four research themes, and there are institutional expectations that the allocation of studentships will result in ca. 20 studentships each over the three intakes. The final allocation decisions will focus on the quality of the applicants but also take into account: balance between themes; balance between institutions; cross-institutional/industrial supervision; end-user contributions. Note that balance will be sought over the three years of intake, so that imbalances in one year due to the spectrum of students who applied, may be redressed later. We are also monitoring for equality and diversity and will take action as necessary to redress any imbalance.

Students will register for a PhD with the HEI of the primary academic supervisor. They will be registered with one HEI only, but will have access to other HEI(s) (e.g. through visiting student status) at the other core institutions. The monitoring of progression, appraisal and pastoral support will be provided in the first instance by the relevant PGR office of the ‘home’ HEI. The Management Board, however, will oversee the progress of all students as well, receiving reports from the PGR offices and supervisors, as well as the students themselves. Where problems arise, the Management Board will seek to provide additional support over and above, but in collaboration with, that provided by the local PGR office.

Please contact in the first instance at or your Institutional or Operation Lead: Manager  - Dr Beth Mansfield Officer - Dr Elis Arapi Director - Prof Jo Cable Cardiff Co-director  - Dr Jo Lello Aberystwyth Co-director - Prof Jo Hamilton Queens' University of Belfast Co-director - Prof. Nikki Marks LSHTM Co-directors -  Prof. Sian Clarke and Dr Rob Moon Research in Practice (Student Placements) - Dr Sarah Perkins Training Lead - Dr Cedric Berger Professional Services; Katie Jorgensen CU; Aveen Lavery QUB and Doctoral Academy leads Reyer Zwiggelaar AU and Sam Alsford LSHTM. A Steering Committee will meet annually to advise on the strategic development, direction and future sustainability of the Centre as well as on all aspects of training offered by the CDT, including the prioritisation and development of the PhD projects (details of the Steering Committee will be published soon).