South Coast Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership

About SoCoBio

Kent is part of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded SoCoBio Doctoral Training Partnership, a collaboration of the Universities of Southampton, Kent, Sussex and Portsmouth, and the horticultural and agricultural research institute NIAB EMR. The consortium funds around 28 4-year PhD studentships annually and provides PhD students with a unique opportunity to undertake bioscience research and training in the following themes:  

  • Understanding the rules of life.
  • Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food.
  • Bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth.
  • Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health.

There are three types of SoCoBio studentships available: Standard, CASE and Industry. 

For standard and CASE studentship entry, students are recruited to the four-year programme rather than to a specific project. Once accepted to the programme, students are asked to choose their first rotation project from this portfolio of projects. After two four-month laboratory rotations, students are invited to finalise their PhD project choice. Industry co-funded studentship entry is direct to the project and students do not undertake rotations.

SoCoBio studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding.

Visit the SoCoBio website for more information about the programme, including the projects available and how to apply.

The application process for 2024/25 studentship projects has now closed

2024 Projects led by Kent supervisors:

Dr Jennifer Hiscock (Standard Studentship)

A novel approach to the development of next-generation antimicrobials: Targetting bacteria with light.

Dr Rebecca Hall (Standard Studentship)

Avoiding the immune system: Using Candida albicans as a tool to understand microbial innate immune evasion strategies.

Dr Marina Ezcurra (CASE Studentship)

Bioactive compounds from upcycled plant waste to improve planetary and human health.

Dr Helen Cockerton (Standard Studentship)

Boosting plant disease resistance through RNAi hairpin introduction.

Dr Wei-Feng Xue (Standard Studentship)

Development of transformative and integrative Atomic Force Microscopy methods for structural analysis of individual molecules.

Dr David Beal (Standard Studentship)

Development of Vitamin B12 Nanobody Conjugates For the Radiation Triggered Release of Therapeutic Agents.

Dr Gary Robinson (Standard Studentship)

Feedstock to fuel….but how?

Prof Alessia Buscaino (CASE Studentship)

From macroalgae to antifungals: harnessing the seaweed potential.

Dr Sara Lopez-Gomollon (Standard Studentship)

Hybridisation: from new traits to viral disease.

Prof Campbell Gourlay (Standard Studentship)

Investigating and harnessing the power of yeast biofilms.

Dr Jenny Tullet (CASE Studentship)

Kent Cherries – unlocking a powerhouse of goodness to promote metabolic health and longevity.

Dr Mark Shepherd (Standard Studentship)

Novel approaches in drug targeting and delivery to combat Gram-negative bacterial pathogens.

Dr Marta Farré Belmonte (CASE Studentship)

Spider venomics – understanding the genomics of venom in spiders.

Prof Neil Kad (CASE Studentship)

Unlocking DNA Repair Pathways: Industrial Collaboration and Cutting-Edge Technology.

Prof Michelle D. Garrett (Standard Studentship)

Vesicle trafficking: a novel transformative technology for cellular engineering.

Find out about current SoCoBio cohorts and their research interests and hear from some of our funded students below. 

Featured story

Hear from Charlotte, a BBSRC-funded PhD student

Find out how SoCoBio has supported her research


The DTP’s cohort training programme has provided technical skills for my research project as well as valuable professional skills.

Featured story

Hear from Kseniia, a BBSRC-funded PhD student

Find out how SoCoBio has supported her research