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ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Social Sciences


To apply for an ESRC Research Experience Placement you will need to complete our online application form.

The competition has now CLOSED - if you applied, we will be in touch soon.

The form will ask you for information about your education and your subject interests.  You will have the opportunity to provide a personal statement and submit supporting documents including a CV and transcript. You will be asked to provide an academic reference.

Your personal statement should explain why you are applying, which project(s) you are interested in and why, what you hope to achieve from Research Experience Placements and what aspirations you have for the future, e.g. have you considered postgraduate study in the social sciences, have you considered a social science career outside academia?

Your research internship project

The Research Internship Projects on offer are listed below and further information about each project is given in detail in this summary document. 

A series of webinars with project supervisors are being held on 29 & 30 March for candidates who would like to know more - details are available on the overview pages along with registration links.

  Project Title Host Department(s)
01. Mapping Historical Epidemics Department of Geography + Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP)
02. Arctic Legal Geographies: Exploring the Svalbard Treaty Department of Geography + Scott Polar Research Institute
03. Reference to person, time and space in second language acquisition

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

04. Research of Play in Education, Development and Learning Faculty of Education
05. Parish GIS of England c.1830 Faculty of History
06. Defending Land Rights in Times of Artificial Intelligence Department of Sociology

As part of your application, you will be able to select which of our research internship projects you would like to apply for.  These projects are offered either under the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Research Experience Placement (REP) or SHARE programme. You only need to submit one application. The application form will ask you to select at least one and up to three preferred projects that you are interested in working on. It is expected that the projects you select would usually be in the same subject area. Make sure that you select the correct projects as once your application is submitted, you won’t be able to change your selection. Please note that we will not always be able to meet your preferences for a project/supervisor, but we will try our best to do this wherever possible.

The information on this webpage will help you to prepare the information you need in order to make a competitive application.

You should also refer to the information on eligibility. Once you have reviewed this information, click the button below to begin your application.

Apply now  (now closed)

The application portal closed at 9am on Monday 4 April. Unfortunately we are not able to consider late applications under any circumstances.

How are students selected?

Applications are screened for eligibility and then forwarded to an academic panel for shortlisting.

Candidates will be scored according to the following criteria:

  • Suitability for the proposed project
  • Enthusiasm for social science research
  • Evidence of academic suitability


We will let you know the outcome of your application by email, by mid-May at the latest. If you have been successful, we will give you further information on how to prepare for the Research Experience Placements programme.

Unfortunately places are strictly limited, but we will operate a waiting list, and competitive candidates may be invited to join the waiting list in the event that a place becomes available.

Useful links

Supporting Documents

The application form will require you to upload several documents as PDFs (or PNG/JPGs) in support of your application. When preparing your documents, please save each document with the following naming convention:

SURNAME, First name, type of document (e.g. CV/Undergraduate Transcript/Subject interest/Personal statement-Academic/Personal statement-Eligibility)

Please browse the sections below for further details regarding supporting documents.


You will need to upload a copy of your University transcript(s) containing the grades/marks you have received so far for your undergraduate degree.

Downloads or screenshots from student self-service online systems are permitted, but must clearly show:

  • your name;
  • the name of the awarding institution;
  • details of your course; and
  • a breakdown of grades.

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, Transcript.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The application form will ask you to upload your CV in PDF format (or as a PNG/JPG).

Your CV should include:

  • The schools you have attended
  • Your GCSE and A-level results
  • Your undergraduate results so far
  • Any prizes or awards for your academic work at school or at university
  • Any work experience (of any kind) that you have had
  • Any extra curriculum activity or experience you feel is relevant to your application

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, CV.


The application form will ask you to provide information about your referee. This should be a member of university academic staff (eg a tutor, advisor or professor) who can comment on your academic ability, the quality of your work, your potential for further study, and your suitability for the SHARE/ESRC REP programme.

Before you submit your application, you will need to contact your referee and make sure that they are happy to write a reference for you by the deadline. Once you submit your application, your referee will be sent an automated email telling them how to submit their reference. Please submit your application as early as possible to give your referee plenty of time and keep in contact with them to make sure that they have received the email notification. Where possible, please enter your referee’s institutional/professional email address.

Referees will be asked to send their references to us by email to by the deadline shown in the email they received when you registered them as a referee. If they would like more information about the programme that you have applied for, you can provide them with a link to this webpage:

Our programme pages also provide referees with the guidance about what to include in their reference. This information can be found in the Guidance for Referees section. For convenience, you may wish to provide your referee with the following web address:

Personal Statement

The application form will ask you to upload a personal statement that is divided into two sections. We suggest that you aim for no more than 2000 characters/450 words in each of these sections.

1. Academic motivation and interests

This statement should explain why you are interested in the programme. Think about what interests you about the programme, what motivates you to study your subject now, how you have engaged more closely with your field over time, and what you would like to get out of the programme.

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, Personal Statement Academic.

2. Your reasons for applying and circumstances which have impacted on your educational potential

The second section of your statement should explain why you are applying and how you believe your background and/or personal circumstances may have impacted on your educational potential. Think about the widening participation criteria and your reasons for applying for SHARE which is designed to find and support students from underrepresented backgrounds into postgraduate research. We would like to know if you do not have the means to access research experience or it may not be as readily available where you are currently studying.

We encourage you to mention any extenuating circumstances or personal circumstances that you would like to bring to the attention of the assessors. For example, if you have been in care, if you are estranged from your family, if you have experienced homelessness, or experienced other situations that have had a significant impact on your education. If your education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, then this can be indicated when completing the application form. 

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, Personal Statement Criteria.