Information for Supervisors of WRDTP-funded students

The WRDTP works with supervisors across our seven partner institutions, to assist in the recruitment, training and development of students. This page looks to provide help and guidance by explaining the application process for prospective students, and how you as a supervisor can assist your ESRC funded student in gaining access to extra funding and resources.

Supervisor responsibilities:

Supervisors are required to help their students in the following ways:

  • to assist applicants with the application process and to complete the nomination form for the Studentship Competition.
  • to ensure timely completion of the PhD. Our expectation is that the thesis is submitted for examination on or as soon as possible after the end of award date. This is typically 3.0 years FTE, but may be up to 3.5 years FTE where a student has undertaken an Overseas Institutional Visit and/or internship/placement. Students must be made aware that it is a condition of their award that significant changes to the title and/or focus of their research need to be approved in advance by their supervisor. Such approval should not be given unless a clear justification is provided.
  • to develop a flexible programme of supervisory meetings in response to student needs.
  • to comply with institutional requirements concerning supervisory arrangements, formalisation of expectations of both staff and students in a learning agreement, keeping agreed written records of supervisory meetings and actions.
  • to oversee the Training Needs Analysis process and ensure that the award-holder’s training and personal development needs are assessed and accommodated.
  • to provide letters of support for funding applications to the DTP, when a student applies to make changes to their status, and to fulfil annual reporting requirements.
  • to address any concerns about their student’s progress, in a timely manner.

Further details can be found in the ESRC Postgraduate Training and Development Guidelines. Please also note the following:

The ESRC expects ROs to ensure that all postgraduate students have access to the highest quality supervision and that procedures are in place to ensure consistent effective provision. The ESRC would normally expect supervisory arrangements to be put in place at the outset of a studentship regardless of the training structure or pathway followed.

The ESRC requires dual supervision, or supervisory panels, to guide the research. HEIs must have a clear policy on how new or inexperienced supervisors will be trained and developed, which might include being partnered with, and mentored by, an experienced cosupervisor.

    • It is expected that within supervision teams, there will be at least one academic member of staff who has prior experience of supervision of PhD students to successful completion. Therefore, where an academic staff member has not yet successfully supervised a PhD student to completion, they should be paired with a more experienced member of the supervision team who has successfully supervised PhD students to completion. Colleagues are advised to also consult their University for any additional local requirements in terms of supervision arrangements.
    • The student’s principal supervisor must be from within the student’s pathway and based in the same academic department/school.

The ESRC requests that supervisors are engaged with the DTP, as this is essential in ensuring that the student gets the most out of their ESRC studentship and the range of opportunities available to them.

Finally, supervisors will also need to ensure that they/their students are compliant with all local policies and regulations required by their HEI.

Additional funding available to WRDTP students:

More information on the benefits below can be found in the WRDTP Virtual Interdisciplinary Research Environment (VIRE) section of the website.

Generic institutional log-ins are used for the VIRE and are available for all students and supervisors to use. If you require the log-in information for the VIRE, please contact the WRDTP administrator at your institution.


We expect that all students applying to the WRDTP for additional funding complete their required costings document as accurately as possible, and ask that you provide assistance in this matter.

We require all students travelling during the pandemic to ensure that their travel/accommodation bookings are flexible and/or refundable in case of further travel restrictions. Further funds will not be made available by the WRDTP if trips are rescheduled due to Covid-19 and deposits are lost, or if additional quarantine costs are incurred.

Further funding for any unexpected or increased costs which may arise following the issuing of award letters, will not be considered. Furthermore, funds should only be used for their allocated purpose, and cannot be repurposed following the receipt of their funding confirmation letter.  In cases where trips are cancelled, unspent funds will be called back in by the WRDTP. 

The ESRC provides the DTP with a notional allowance of £667 per annum per student (£888 for AQM Award-holders) for each year of their doctoral studies. These monies are not to be considered a personal allowance, but are pooled to allow for greater flexibility in meeting the needs of the student cohort as a whole.

The allowance is intended to be used to pay for expenses which the student/supervisor/department deem to be in direct support of a student’s research at doctoral level and is not available to masters students.

This may include:

  • UK Fieldwork Expenses
  • UK, EU and overseas conferences and summer schools
  • Language training courses
  • Reimbursement of interpreters, guides, assistants
  • Survey costs, e.g. printing, stationery, telephone calls
  • Purchase of small items of equipment e.g. cameras, tape recorders etc
  • Gifts for local informants
  • Books and other reading material not available through libraries

Students undertaking their doctoral level study are eligible to apply to the WRDTP RTSG Top Up Scheme if their allocation has been exhausted (there are 3 funding calls per annum) – more details can be found on the VIRE.

For students to be eligible to apply for OFE, it is expected that an anticipated requirement for overseas fieldwork expenses would be flagged on their initial WRDTP Studentship Nomination Form. The allocation of funds for fieldwork expenses is at the discretion of the DTP, which will announce the process for applying for Overseas Fieldwork Expenses each December (via email and the WRDTP VIRE). There will normally be three calls per year for applications to the scheme.

It is very unlikely that the DTP will be able to fully fund a student’s overseas fieldwork trip; students may apply to use Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) funds to supplement the costs associated with overseas fieldwork, however this is entirely at the student’s discretion. A student’s overseas fieldwork visit will normally last no more than 12 months, be an integral part of the PhD, and take place during the life of the award. The DTP is not obliged to fund more than one OFE claim per student and expects the OFE to take place in one country.

More details, application guidance and criteria and the application forms can be found on the VIRE.

Any anticipated requirement for difficult language training should have been flagged as part of the WRDTP Studentship Nomination Form.  Once registered, students will need to apply for an extension (for additional time and stipend/fees funding) to their award via one of the three annual DLT additional funding scheme calls.

Up to one year’s extra support (this is over and above the standard funded length of the studentship) may be considered if a student needs to acquire or develop a working ability with a difficult languageEach application will be considered on a case by case basis.

The DTP does not offer funding to cover any expenses incurred during the DLT period, so normally students apply for their DLT and OFE funds during the same funding call, and plan to complete their DLT and overseas fieldwork consecutively, to save on travel costs. For further guidance, and to find the application form, please visit the VIRE.

All ESRC funded research award holders are eligible to apply via the Overseas Institutional Visit Scheme, during their doctoral studies, for a paid extension of up to three months (this can be across a maximum of 3 separate visits but must be requested in a single application) to their PhD studentship in order to visit an overseas institution.

This scheme provides financial support and time for the student to establish research networks; disseminate early research findings; participate in seminars and other academic activities that are directly relevant to their research and to undertake specialist research training not available within the UK. Applications must demonstrate the potential benefits of the proposed visit to their current or future academic career and, in particular, to demonstrate how the visit/s will offer ‘added value’ to their PhD experience.

For more details and to access the application form, please visit the VIRE.

The WRDTP Company Internships Scheme offers students the opportunity to spend up to three months in a non-academic organisation within the public, civil society (voluntary) or private sector to work as part of a team involved with policy and practice development. For further details on the criteria for this scheme, and the application form, please visit the VIRE.

There will also be the opportunity for students to apply for UKRI internships, which will be supported by the WRDTP (by an extension to their funding end date, covering their fees and stipend), if they are of the appropriate quality. Calls for the UKRI scheme are circulated via email to students, and this is usually at some point during the Summer vacation period. There is usually further support for travel and accommodation costs, covered by the placement host department. Contact details for further information regarding the scheme will be shared at the same time the call is circulated.

Please note that for international students who commenced their awards before October 2024, UK Visa and Immigration rules means that there may be restrictions relating to their engagement in internship and placement opportunities. For example, international students doing any (paid or unpaid) work outside their degree programme need to remain with term-time working hour conditions, i.e. no more than 20 hours per week. International students are advised to seek guidance from relevant local institutional contacts.

The WRDTP offers funding to students to run activities/events and develop their own themed networks.  The funding can be used to cover the running of events (room bookings, presenters’ fees, promotion/advertising and catering) and travel and subsistence to support the development of the network. Student-led Networks should focus on substantive themes and encourage participation from students across a variety of WRDTP pathways.

For more information, please visit the VIRE.

Key information for Supervisors:

Supervisors have a key role in the nomination of students to the WRDTP for ESRC funding in our annual Studentships competition. For further details and guidance, please see the following webpage:

As a minimum requirement of the ESRC, a rigorous Training Needs Analysis (TNA) must be undertaken annually for all ESRC funded students (including those on the MA and PhD) that will ensure they develop a progressive training agenda over the lifetime of their programme that addresses both the depth and the breadth of the training received.

Doctoral Training Partnerships are responsible for ensuring that there is an auditable, robust and consistent approach to training needs analysis for all students, across all pathways and in all the partner HEIs, and are required to review training needs analysis on an annual basis to monitor what training needs have been identified and how they are being addressed.

It is expected that TNAs are completed in the first weeks of a new student’s studies (both 1+3 and +3) and then reviewed annually with the supervisory team.

The WRDTP TNA form seeks to gather information about training in advanced research methods; core research methods; general research skills and transferable skills. For each of these categories, we want students/supervisors to provide brief information about training completed within the past 12 months, and information about training needs for the next 12 months.

Please note the the ESRC/WRDTP TNA is in addition to any local training auditing processes.  Students and supervisors will therefore need to ensure that any local processes are also followed, as required by their HEI.

WRDTP Actions following the successful completion of the TNA cycle:

All responses are collated by the DTP Office and allocated for review to each of the 7 interdisciplinary training Pathway Directors.

Each Pathway Director is required to prepare a summary report for their Pathway, which is then submitted to the WRDTP Training Group meeting. The Directors of the AQM (Advanced Quantitative Methods) and AQUALM (Advanced Qualitative Methods) Groups are also given access to all the responses and similarly compile a report.

The Training Group is comprised of all the Pathway Directors, the WRDTP Director and Manager.  As such, senior academics from across the seven HEIs are involved in the scrutiny of the TNAs and in taking decisions on where gaps in training need to be addressed, and in selecting the most appropriate and cost-effective modes of delivery.

The WRDTP is required to report annually to the ESRC details of any external collaboration, societal/economic impact or international activity that ESRC funded doctoral researchers have been involved in during the last 12 months.

This information is captured via supervisors completing the WRDTP Collaboration and Impact Report Google Form (circulated by email, via the DTP Office) for each of their students by a specified deadline, on an annual basis.

Supervisors also receive a PDF document with this email, outlining the egenral student/project details we have on file for each of our funded students. Supervisors are asked to review this document, and let the DTP Office know of any changes (e.g. to their thesis title, if a student has since submitted their thesis etc).

We offer a range of research methods and other training which is delivered by each of our partner Universities.  The training may be linked to one of our 7 interdisciplinary themed Pathways or of interest to all students.

Training is offered in four key areas:

  • Discipline-based training: this provides a high-level understanding of academic debates in a specific field
  • Professional skills for research leadership: this is training in how academic work is funded, published and translated into practical use beyond the university
  • Advanced research methods training: this provides exposure to cutting-edge methods that support students’ own projects and their future research ambitions
  • Interdisciplinary Pathway training: this Pathway training is key to the ethos of the WRDTP.  It enables students to articulate how their PhDs contribute to wider societal challenges through work within one of the seven interdisciplinary thematic Pathways

Our Training Calendar can be found here.

If you’d like to be added to our training database and receive emails regarding our training sessions to share with your students, please email Alternatively, follow us on Twitter for training and general updates: @wrssdtp.

The WRDTP has a diverse postgraduate community. As part of training during the PhD PGRs will establish networks with academic staff and encounter staff in a variety of contexts both professional and social. PGRs will also often act as staff members when they undertake teaching. When they do teach PGRs are expected to observe professional boundaries that apply to all staff members at the University in which they are employed.

It is a vital part of the PhD process that PGRs should be able to have regular contact with staff and to be able to engage with them intellectually. However, it is also important that where inappropriate conduct or behaviour takes place that there are transparent processes and clear guidelines that can be followed to protect both staff and PGRs. It is against this background context and following consultation with the WRDTP PGR forum that the following recommendations of best practice are proposed.

Concordat of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership on Professional Boundaries between Staff and Postgraduate Researchers

More questions?

If you have a question or any concerns regarding your role as the supervisor of a WRDTP-funded student, you should approach your university’s WRDTP Academic Quality Committee representative(s) in the first instance.

First Name Surname HEI Email
Karen Pashby Manchester Metropolitan University
Sarah Campbell Manchester Metropolitan University
Alisha Ali Sheffield Hallam University
Sarah Pearson Sheffield Hallam University
Mel Cooper University of Bradford
Peter Gardner University of Bradford
Elsbeth Robson University of Hull
Simon Green University of Hull
Jen Hendry University of Leeds
Nichola Wood University of Leeds
Ghasem Zaefarian University of Leeds
Andrew Bell University of Sheffield
Stef Pukallus University of Sheffield
Philip Garnett University of York
Carolyn Snell University of York
Daryl Martin University of York

How to get involved further in the work of the WRDTP:

  • Submit a project proposal for a WRDTP Collaborative Award  – then recruit and supervise a PhD student to carry out the studentship project, with involvement from a collaborative partner in the public, private or civil society/third sector.
  • Apply to join one of the WRDTP’s seven interdisciplinary training pathway teams as a Pathway Director or Deputy. Vacancies are shared as news items on our website, and circulated to eligible department/schools at our partner universities via the WRDTP’s Academic Quality Committee. To check if there are any vacancies in your research area, please contact your AQC rep (details above) or the WRDTP Office. Please note that these roles carry a modest workload allocation, and permission will need to be sought from your HoD as part of the recruitment process.