Postgraduate research

Target studentship

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Geography Geology

Application deadline: 5 June 2024

Start date: October 2024


TARGET is the Training and Research Group for Energy Transition Mineral Resources, and UKRI-NERC sponsored Centre for Doctoral Training. TARGET is led by the University of Leicester, with a large number of University and industry partners. 

TARGET will support the training and development of researchers engaged in the challenge of meeting the changing patterns of resource demand. As we move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and as the technology we use at home and at work evolves, we need greater amounts, and an increasingly diverse list of metals and minerals. Many of the materials we need are critical, with significant risk of disruption to their supply.

Our ability to transition to a more sustainable means of producing and using energy will depend on us finding and producing mineral resources, and being nature positive, water- and energy efficient, and delivering positive benefits to communities whilst doing so. Within TARGET, you will deliver research that can discover new resources, recover them in the most sustainable way, produce positive legacies for the environment and community, and enhance our strategic and political understanding of the role of resources in our economy.

TARGET will support interdisciplinary researchers through a comprehensive training programme to develop your skills in various aspects of meeting mineral resources challenge. Your training will prepare you for a career at the forefront of mineral resources and the energy transition, whether your future is in academia, industry, or policy.

Select the project you want to be considered for, complete the TARGET studentship form (docx., 158kb) and upload it to your online application. Please refer to the how to apply section below for application advice.

Doctoral training partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers. The University of Leicester is a lead partner in four DTPs/CDTs through which we can offer funded PhD studentships in a wide range of research areas.

Studentships are available to highly motivated and qualified applicants and provide a generous support package usually including a full fee waiver, annual stipend, and research training support grant. Studentships are in most cases offered early in the year for October start. Enquiries outside of the main application periods are welcomed.



TARGET studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by NERC TARGET and provide:

  • Tuition fees at UK (Home) rates*
  • Annual stipend, (currently set at £19,237 per year for 2024/25)
  • Research training support grant (RTSG)

*If you are not eligible for UK fees then you may need to confirm whether the host institution will provide the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of your studies. Please query this with the project lead as appropriate.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants must have or expect to obtain a first class or upper second class BSc and/or M-level degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject.

Applicants who hold a lower second class honours degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject may be considered for admission provided that they also hold a Masters degree in a relevant subject.

University of Leicester English language requirements apply as necessary.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Please forward your project and application enquiries to TARGET at Leicester at

For general enquiries regarding the TARGET CDT please see the TARGET website.

How to apply

How to apply

Select the project you want to be considered for. Download and complete the TARGET application form (docx., 158kb)

Complete and submit your University PhD application using the Apply Now button at the bottom of the page and select September 2024 entry.

Guidelines for your PhD application:

  • Upload your completed TARGET Studentship Application Form to the Personal Statement section (a separate personal statement is not required).
  • Enter your TARGET project supervisor's name, institution and the project title under supervisor section on the proposal page. You do not need to submit a proposal.
  • Upload your supporting documents (CV, degree transcripts and certificates, evidence of English language).
  • Enter the names and contact details of referees in the space provided. Please be sure to let your referees know to expect a reference request from us. Or upload reference letters if available (these should be on signed headed paper). 
  • Under the funding section of the online application form select studentship and in the drop down menu select NERC TARGET



Our project-based studentships are open to all applicants who meet the academic requirements (at least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or overseas equivalent)

International students will normally require a student visa in order to be able to study in the UK. There are costs associated with the visa application process, which must be met by the student; approximately £2,500 for the visa and healthcare surcharge. Please ensure you have the means to meet these costs before you apply to the programme.

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