WRDTP Advanced Data Analytics Awards

Our Advanced Data Analytics (ADA) awards are aimed at applicants who will use cutting edge data analysis techniques (which can be quantitative and/or qualitative), or will deploy large scale or ‘big’ data, to facilitate impactful research that is aligned with our thematic interdisciplinary pathways.  These projects are likely to use forms of secondary data that are not commonly used in social science research, and that require particular techniques to understand and interpret those data. 

Assessment Criteria

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do these awards differ from the WRDTP Pathway Awards?

These studentships are the result of a specific ESRC strategic steer to encourage the use of advanced data skills. Projects are likely to use forms of secondary data that are not commonly used in social science research, and that require particular techniques to understand and interpret those data. These datasets may include administrative data, unstructured commercial data (such as loyalty card databases), data created through digital interactions between people and/or organisations (e.g. social media data), and interactions with urban environments (such as transport footfall data or phone tracking data). These data are often underutilised in the social sciences, whilst being information rich. They are often large (often described as “Big Data”) and sometimes are not representative of broader populations. This means that they are often suitable for answering different research questions, and require different techniques from more traditional datasets that are used more regularly in the social sciences (such as representative surveys).

However please note that all the typical studentship eligibility criteria apply, the competition timelines and deadlines are the same as the Pathway competition, and applicants are still expected to align with one of the WRDTP’s seven interdisciplinary training pathways in addition to focusing on AQM during their research project.

Is there any additional support for ADA studentship award holders?

An enhanced Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) is offered alongside these awards (available during the +3.5 stage of the programme).

Am I eligible for a WRDTP studentship?

Please find all the details regarding our eligibility requirements in the WRDTP Pathway, AQM and ADA Awards – Guidance for Applicants.

How do I apply?

Applicants do not apply directly to the WRDTP for an award, but are instead nominated by their university.  To be eligible for a WRDTP award, applicants must hold an offer for a PhD place in an eligible school or department, and must be intending to undertake a social sciences research project that is within the ESRC’s remit.  Once you have applied to your university and have a PhD study offer, your department/school will decide whether to nominate you to the WRDTP for studentship funding.
You should therefore allow sufficient time to liaise with potential supervisors. You should also ensure that you observe any processes or deadlines that the individual department, school or university has in place for assessing applications.  We recommend speaking to person responsible for PGR admissions in your chosen academic department at your preferred university – they will be best placed to advise you on their application processes.
If your department or school decides to nominate you for a studentship, you will be required to complete a WRDTP Studentship Application Form.  Please note that this is a separate process, and is in addition to any form that you may have completed when applying for a place to study a PhD at your chosen university.  Your department/school will the compile a nomination pack, and will submit this to the WRDTP for consideration by the specified deadline.
You can see a copy of the WRDTP Studentship Application Form here.  Please note that we do not accept direct applications from candidates, and that all nominations should come from partner universities.

It is then assessed by the WRDTP’s Academic Quality Committee, and decisions will be shared with all applicants by the end of April. Please note that your institution’s Scholarships Team will communicate all decisions – the WRDTP will not contact you directly with the outcomes. Please also be aware that due to the number of applications we receive, we are unable to provide individualised feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Applicant Information Sessions

Applicants who are interested in the WRDTP Pathway, AQM and ADA Awards are invited to attend an information session for guidance on the application process. There will also be an information session for Black British applicants who are interested in applying for a Stuart Hall Foundation Award.

These will be held online on the following dates:

Pathway, AQM and ADA Awards:

  • Wednesday 15 November 2023: 17:30 – 18:30

Stuart Hall Foundation Awards (open to Black British applicants only):

  • Tuesday 21 November 2023: 17:30 – 18:30

These sessions will include opportunities for Q&A and a recording of the session will be made available afterwards. To book your place on a session, please follow this link.

All sessions will run on a virtual basis, via Zoom. You will receive a reminder email with the link to your session, nearer the time of your workshop. If you can’t attend your preferred session(s) but would like to receive further information, please indicate this via the form. Slides/recordings from the event will be posted on our website in due course, and you will be emailed once these are available.

Drop-in sessions

Two drop-in sessions will be offered as a follow-up to the information sessions detailed above. These will be held on the following dates:

  • For academic supervisors – Tuesday 28 November, 10:00 – 11:00
  • For student applicants – Tuesday 28 November, 17:30 – 18:30

The purpose of these sessions will be to offer an opportunity for supervisors/students to ask questions about the studentships schemes and application processes following the substantive content provided in the information sessions.

A link to register your interest in the drop in sessions will follow.

What is the deadline to apply?

Students must have submitted their application for a PhD study place by 17:00, 24 January 2024 in order to be considered for a WRDTP studentship.

PLEASE NOTE: Each of our partner universities have slightly different application systems, so depending on where you choose to apply, you may be asked to apply for studentship funding at the same time as your PhD application and via the same application form, or via a separate scholarships application system, or to apply for funding only after you have a study place confirmed. We strongly recommend checking with your chosen department/school to confirm your local application process, and any local deadlines. 

The overall timeline for the WRDTP studentships competition can be found in our WRDTP Studentships 2024/25 call for nominations (Page 3).

What happens if I miss the deadline to apply?

Unfortunately, we cannot consider late applications. However, If you miss out on the deadline to apply for a WRDTP Pathway, Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) or Advanced Data Analytics (ADA) Award, but are still interested in undertaking a WRDTP-funded studentship, there are other opportunities to secure funding for a PhD.

In early Spring, we will be recruiting students to our WRDTP Collaborative Award projects – these studentships are designed by academic colleagues at our partner universities, and involve collaboration with an external (non-HE) partner. Further details will be unveiled on our WRDTP Collaborative Awards webpage in due course.