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We have 57 Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK



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Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK

We have 57 Evolution PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK

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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Sex and Selfish Genetic Elements in Molecular Evolution

  Research Group: EBE
Two PhD positions are available to work with Professor Adam Eyre-Walker at the University of Sussex on a variety of topics in the field of molecular evolution from September 2023. Read more

Spatio-temporal dynamics of reactive oxygen species in mixed biofilms

Bacterial cells typically live in a spatially structured community known as a biofilm. Understanding of how cells in a mixed biofilm modify micro-environments and generate complex temporal environmental variations is still poor. Read more

Evolution of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial microbiomes

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the GW4 BioMed2 MRC Doctoral Training Partnership which is offering up to 20 studentships for entry in September 2024. Read more
Last chance to apply

Musculoskeletal adaptations to extreme biting in birds

Birds represent one of the most spectacular adaptive radiations in earth’s history, with over 10,000 extant species spanning a range of ecologies and environments. Read more

UCL SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Research Degrees

UCL's Security Science Doctoral Research Training Centre (UCL SECReT) was founded in 2009 with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESRC) and an array of public and private sector organisations working in crime reduction security and law enforcement. Read more

Revealing the genomic basis of reproductive mode evolution and speciation in Littorina snails

Overview. We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated PhD student (starting September 2024) to study the links between reproductive mode evolution and speciation in intertidal snails from the genus Littorina. Read more
Last chance to apply

Genetic and cellular processes regulating sperm length

Sperm’s role in sexual reproduction is obvious – to win the race to fertilise the egg. Females are not passive bystanders though; evolutionary pressure caused by female choice means sperm length is particularly variable between species. Read more

Inflorescence architecture in the laboratory and field

Plant form is shaped by both genetics and environment; changes in response to temperature can be the most dramatic of all. Many plants synchronize flowering with spring by sensing and storing an epigenetic ‘memory’ of cold, which then affects the timing, morphology and productivity of the inflorescence produced. Read more

How do environmental cues affect reproduction?

This project is available to self funded candidates only. The School of Biology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2023/24. Read more

Improving Photosynthetic Efficiency - Engineering and Evolution of Light-Harvesting Complexes via Synthetic Biology

Photosynthesis is the ultimate source of food and energy for almost all forms of life. Using sunlight as the energy input, photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere generating the oxygen and carbohydrate that support complex life. Read more

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