Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 81 Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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We have 81 Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

A PhD in Evolution offers you the opportunity to conduct an extended research project into a specific area of evolution from researching how a specific characteristic has changed over generations to tracking the origin of a protein. Your project could be either formed of field work, carrying out experiments in the laboratory or a Bioinformatics project, likely working with genomics data.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Evolution?

Studying a PhD in Evolution, you’ll gain a range of skills, from programming in R or Python, using cutting edge 3D scanning and digital imaging equipment to becoming a leader in your field work.

Some typical research topics in Evolution include:

  • Investigating how bacterial biofilms evolve over time
  • Researching how a system e.g. vocal chords have evolved
  • Analysis of genomics of a species over time
  • Investigating how an environmental factor, such as social interaction affects the brain
  • Studying sexual dimorphism in a given species
  • Retracing the origins of a specific protein

Most PhD programmes in Evolution are proposed by the supervisor and advertised on the university website with full funding attached. However, some advertised projects require you to self-fund, which can be difficult due to additional bench fees. This funding challenge also makes proposing your own project in Evolution uncommon.

Day-to-day you’ll likely perform experiments and/or observe your species of study. If you have a Bioinformatic based project, you’ll write programmes to identify new features in the data. Regardless of your speciality, you’ll read extensively around your topic to gain inspiration for methods and discuss results with your supervisor and colleagues.

To be awarded your PhD, you’ll need to write a thesis of around 60,000 words and defend your work during a viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Evolution PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, at Merit or Distinction level. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Evolution funding options

The research council responsible for funding Evolution PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Evolution PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Testing the accuracy of evolutionary inferences from morphological phylogeny

  Research Group: Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life
Phylogenetic data are fundamental for understanding evolution. Building and analysing trees from genotypic and phenotypic data is necessary to reconstruct evolutionary relationships, diversifications, rates, and dynamics. Read more
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Understanding the ecological and evolutionary effects of heatwaves in tropical species and ecological communities

Heatwaves are considered one of the most threatening processes for our plants and animal species as the Earth’s climate warms. There is much to understand about how our species and the ecological communities they form will change and adapt through heatwaves. Read more

Assessing risks of resistance to novel antimicrobials targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Commercial partner: . Bactobio Ltd. , London. Antibiotic resistance has emerged as an important threat to human health, and there is a clear need to develop new drugs that are active against multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens. Read more

Developing gregarine apicomplexans as aquatic symbiosis model system

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative, seeks to advance the understanding of aquatic symbioses that include microbial partners. Read more

Rethinking evolution in self-fertilising species

  Research Group: Institute of Evolutionary Biology
A major goal of evolution is to understand how selection acts in the genome. Many species reproduce via self-fertilisation, where individuals produce both male and female gametes that can be used to produce offspring. Read more

Epigenetic ageing in insects

Ageing is the combination of DNA, cellular and organ damage leading to a decline in function and increased chance of dying. Aging is a complex process influenced by many environmental and genetic components. Read more

Establishing an insect model for epigenetic diseases

Epigenetics is defined as the heritable change in expression of a gene without any change in the DNA sequence. It is important in fields as diverse as human cancer biology and the ecological response of animals and plants to environmental pollutants. Read more

Shedding light on the functioning of root-fungal symbioses with high resolution isotopic imaging

In this exciting multi-disciplinary project, you will work at the interface between physical and biological sciences, using the latest technologies in both to address key questions that underlie food security in the face of changing climates. Read more

Plant-insect interactions in a changing world

Project Overview: . Insects associated with plants comprise one of the most diverse groups of species on earth. Their impact on the ecology and evolution of their host plants is widely recognised, as is their contribution to multiple important ecosystem services. Read more

TYLERK_U23MED - Functional Genomics and Metagenomics of Cryptosporidiosis

Human cryptosporidiosis is the leading protozoan cause of diarrhoeal mortality worldwide, and most infection is caused by either person to person transmitted Cryptosporidium hominis or the presumptively zoonotic C. Read more

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