Funding opportunity: 20 PhDs using linked administrative data

Over the past four years, ADR UK has made significant advances in making de-identified administrative data easier for researchers to access securely. As a result, there is now an impressive collection of new flagship datasets available through our partnership’s trusted research environments across the UK. The ADR UK flagship datasets brochure outlines the research potential of some of these datasets, and applicants are encouraged to refer to the brochure when making an application.  

Applications are only open to existing Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). This opportunity is not open to other institutions or to direct applications from students. 

ADR UK will host a webinar for applicants on 20 September 2022, which will include more information on the application process, as well as an opportunity to ask questions. Register to attend the webinar

Applications close at 16:00 on 21 October 2022. 

These PhDs will have the potential to generate research leading to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services, in areas from improving education and healthcare to tackling crime. This investment supports the work of the ADR UK Training and Capacity Building Strategy  which aims to increase the capacity and capability of researchers trained to analyse complex linked administrative datasets. 

About the data

ADR UK-funded PhD studentships must focus on quantitative research using linked administrative data. 

Administrative data covers a wide range of topics and therefore applications will be considered from both within and beyond the social sciences. Applicants should consider the ADR UK mission in their proposal.  

Applicants are also encouraged to refer to the ADR UK flagship datasets brochure for information about the data, its research potential, and supporting materials such as synthetic data, training opportunities and user networks. The linked administrative datasets featured in the brochure form an exciting first collection of rich, curated data fit for use by researchers across all career levels. Please clearly specify which linked administrative dataset(s) will be used and how they will (each) complement the research topics and questions. 

This call is not limited to ADR UK flagship datasets, however, applications using ADR UK flagship datasets will be prioritised. Any applications that are based on other existing linked administrative data will have a greater chance of success if they also include a dataset from the brochure, for example, to enable a comparative study.

Studentships that are not based on linked administrative data are not eligible for this funding.  

Eligibility and funding

Only existing ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) are eligible to apply for this opportunity. ESRC currently funds 14 DTPs comprised of 73 high quality research organisations.  

DTP Directors will be responsible for coordinating the application process for up to four supervisor-led PhD studentships each across their partnership. 

This opportunity is not open to direct applications from students, or to applications from institutions not part of an existing ESRC DTP. 

The total funds available for this opportunity will be approximately £1.9 million. ADR UK expects to be able to fully fund 20 studentships, but the DTP could co-fund the studentships through their existing allocation or other sources. Co-funding is not a requirement, but it may be viewed as an indication of the commitment of the DTP or other institutions involved. To discuss options for co-funding, email  

Funding will be provided on the basis of the annual notional cost of a studentship and the proposed duration of the studentships. Eligible costs also include: 

  • enhanced stipend of £1,000 per student per year 
  • a three-month placement. 

Funded students will be the responsibility of the ESRC DTP and subject to the same terms and conditions as students funded directly by ESRC. 

Timeline for PhD programmes

The cohort of students selected through this opportunity is expected to start in October 2023. Studentships can be held on a range of different structures, for example: 

  • one plus three years (Masters followed by a PhD) 
  • plus three years (PhD only) 
  • four-year (integrated training programme) basis.  

The actual length of studentships will depend on the: 

  • structures available on the pathway 
  • students’ prior training. 

How to apply

ESRC DTPs can apply for up to a total of four supervisor-led studentship opportunities each across their partnership and are responsible for coordinating the application process.  

Applications must be submitted by the DTP Director by email to

A completed application package includes: 

  • Form A: to be completed by the Director of the ESRC DTP who is coordinating the process on behalf of the DTP partnership.
  • Form B: to be completed by supervisors looking to host PhD studentships. Each studentship will need its own form. As DTPs can apply for up to four studentships, up to four Form Bs can be submitted. 

Please note that supervisors can apply for multiple studentships. However, each application must address different research topics and questions. Supervisors must consult with their DTP Director before applying to ensure the DTP does not exceed the maximum total of four applications across the partnership.  

Forms can be downloaded from the ‘Documents’ section at the bottom of this page. More details, including the assessment criteria, are available from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Finder

Funding decisions are expected to be communicated before the end of the 2022 calendar year. 

Sign up for an applicant webinar from 11:00 – 12:00 on 20 September 2022 to hear more about the application process. 

Key dates

Applications open 1 September 2022 
Applicant webinar 11:00 – 12:00, 20 September 2022 
Closing date 16:00 on 21 October 2022 
Review of applications October to November 2022 
Assessment panel meeting Late November 2022 
Funding decisions Expected end of December 2022 
PhD start date Autumn 2023 


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