SPaRK PhD Scholarships for International Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast in UK, 2017-2018

Higher Education Authority

Scholarship Description: Applications are invited for up to 10 SPaRK PhD Scholarships at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK for January 2018 start. Researchers of all nationalities are eligible to apply for this scholarship program.

SPaRK program is designed to offer a dynamic and innovative model of professional and scientific development at a doctoral level that proactively trains researchers in the skills and competencies necessary to maximize the potential of these 3i partnerships.

SPaRK is a Horizon2020 funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie doctoral training program that supports interdisciplinary PhD students at Queen’s University Belfast. PhD students funded within Marie Sklodowska-Curie programs have the title of Early Stage Researcher (ESR).

Queen’s University will continue to accept the IELTS Academic (both SELT and non-SELT), and TOEFL Internet-based tests for direct admission to undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs, if taken within the past two years.

Degree Level: Scholarships are available to pursue PhD programme.

Available Subject: SPaRK researchers are based in academic Schools or research institutes across all three of Queen’s Faculties: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS); Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS); and Medicine, Health and Life Sciences (MHLS).

Scholarship Benefits: The SPaRK program offers a generous remuneration package based on a basic per annum salary of £21,917.17 with pension or £25,576.45 without a pension. For further information on the remuneration package, contact Ms Aveen Lavery, EC Research Finance Manager (

Number of Scholarships: Up to 10 scholarships are available.

Eligibility: The following criteria must be met in order for applicants to be eligible for the scholarship:

  • Early Stage Researchers must be, at the time of recruitment, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and must not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree that would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.
  • Researchers can be of any nationality. However, they must comply with the mobility rule as stated in the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions work programme: they ‘shall not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account’.
  • The minimum requirement for eligibility for consideration will be equivalent to a UK 2.1 Hons degree/equivalent or Masters Completion. The level of prior qualification required will be entirely consistent with disciplinary norms to ensure there is equal treatment of candidates within cognate disciplinary areas. Normally, admission to a doctoral program in the Humanities will require completion of a Masters degree, whereas candidates for programs in Physical and Life Sciences may be eligible for entry on completion of an undergraduate degree. Please contact the lead supervisor for further information on requirements.

Eligible Nationalities: Researchers of all nationalities are eligible to apply for this scholarship program.

Application Procedure: Follow the steps to apply:


  • Register as an applicant via the Queen’s online application portal.
  • Complete all elements of the online application form, noting the following specific advice for the SPaRK program:
    • Having completed your personal details in the relevant sections, progress to ‘My Applications’
    • Click ‘New Application’ > Postgraduate Research > Continue
    • Under ‘Select Course’, click on the School of your lead supervisor, followed by Subject Area, then Doctor of Philosophy > Continue
    • Under ‘Postgraduate Research Application’, add the title of the project for which you are applying (as listed in the tables of projects available for 2017-18 entry above) in the Title box
    • Add the name of the lead supervisor as listed on the project description
    • Under ‘Additional Information’, please type ‘SParK’ in the text box as well as confirmation that you have discussed your application with one of the project supervisors
    • Use the ‘Upload Document’ function to submit a single file including: a letter outlining your motivation for applying for the programme and relevant experience (max. 2 pages of A4 with min. font size of 11pt) and a provisional research plan (max. 1 page of A4 with min. font size of 11pt). This document should also confirm the applicant’s compliance with the mobility rule that is a key criterion for assessing eligibility.
    • Provide details of two referees.
    • Under ‘Funding’, click ‘Yes, I wish to be considered for funding’ > Save and continue
    • Under ‘Applying for Funding’, click on ‘I wish to be considered for any funding administered by Queen’s University Belfast’ (make sure you have typed ‘SPaRK’ within the additional information box – point 6 above)
    • Complete the remaining questions as indicated.


  • Submit a 3-minute video in which you set out your suitability for a program aimed at developing future leaders to the following email address by the deadline of 11 August 2017:
  • Demonstrate your creativity in approaching this part of the application. You might, for example, wish to talk about your leadership experience or a specific example thereof, your motivation for undertaking a program which seeks to develop leadership skills and capacity, your philosophy of leadership, your vision of what a true leader, whether real or hypothetical, does. The most important criterion is to demonstrate a (self-)reflective response to the concept of leadership.

Application Form

Deadline: The deadline for applications for a 2017-18 SPaRK ESR position is Friday, August 11, 2017.

Scholarship Link

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook