Fully Funded PhD Studentships Across a Range of Research Areas

University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands is pleased to announce fully funded, full time, PhD studentships commencing in the 2017/18 academic year, available in a range of research areas.

This is the second cohort of PhD studentships at the university funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

We are seeking excellent, ambitious candidates worldwide, to join a new cohort of PhD students, from October 2017.

The studentships:

  • offer a range of research opportunities, from health to environmental science; energy to history; marine science to archaeology
  • cover fees (at UK/EU level – international students will be liable for the difference in fees), plus a stipend at the RCUK level, for 3.5 years (including the writing up period)
  • start in October 2017
  • are open to applicants worldwide, possessing an Honours degree of at least 2:1 standard (or international equivalent)
  • require students to be domiciled in the Highlands and Islands transition region during the course of their study to be eligible for funding

Why the University of the Highlands and Islands?

Spread across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, our distinctive partnership of 13 independent colleges and research institutions is locally based and rooted in communities, but with national and international reach.

Our innovative approach to learning and distinctive research are enriched and inspired by the people, natural environment, economy, culture and heritage of the Highlands and Islands. We offer unparalleled natural laboratories and opportunities to support research in a wide range of disciplines: physical; ecological; cultural; historical and social.

Over 69% of the research we submitted for assessment to the UK-wide 2014 Research Excellence Framework achieved the two top grades: world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*), and situated the university as one of the UK’s leading modern universities, and with an excellent environment for PhD level study.

Our students are exposed to cutting-edge thinking and work alongside world-class researchers. You will be part of a growing postgraduate research student community, guided by subject experts, building knowledge and skills, in a supportive and collaborative research culture.

Apply now to be part of a new cohort of PhD students!

For further details on each project click on “Show all PhDs for this organisation” at the bottom of this page.

Deadline for applications: Monday 8 May 2017, 12pm (UK time)

To find out more about research at the University of the Highlands and Islands visit: www.uhi.ac.uk/en/research-enterprise

The projects

Life Sciences

  • The Role of Science Communication in Clinical Encounters Relating to Lyme Disease
  • Investigation of inhibitory roles of special human plasma in the proliferation of cancer cells
  • How can the deployment of digital technologies help improve healthcare and reduce health inequalities in the Highlands and Islands Region – A Stakeholder Consultation
  • eDNA assessment of the distribution, abundance and reproductive behaviour of pearl mussels in Scotland to inform species conservation needs
  • Distribution of microplastics in the Scottish marine environment
  • Bioprospecting for novel marine polysaccharides for the Life Sciences

Food & Drink

  • Consumption, commerce and custom; historical and archaeological evidence for the social, cultural and economic position of salmon in the Scottish highlands and Islands, c.1400-c.1800
  • The origins and history of distilling and whisky production in the Highlands and Islands: an historical and archaeological approach
  • Salmon farming in Scotland: quantifying the actual levels of interbreeding and gene introgression of farm escapes with wild populations
  • Integrating fish tracking and genetics to inform conservation management of Atlantic salmon and guide marine offshore development in Scotland
  • Culturing kelp like microalgae; gametophyte cultivation for metabolite extraction
  • Propagation of underwater noise from Scottish fish farms
  • Addressing the impact of the landings obligation on the fishers of Shetland
  • Distillery and shellfish by-products as biosorbents for sustainable water treatment


  • Archiving the Nuclear Past; exploring the nuclear energy industry and its community impact in Britain
  • Assessing the viability of long-term peat storage for future peatland restoration in a Shetland onshore E&P development
  • Artificial reef creation using decommissioned mattresses – environmental performance and fisheries enhancement potential in the North Sea
  • Optimising the decommissioning of concrete mattresses and support structures in the North Sea
  • The potential for the refurbishment of historic hydro power generation for the benefit of local communities in the Highlands & Islands region

Creative Industries

  • Managing digital archives of heritage film as a sustainable community resource

Business Services

  • Language and Culture as a Societal Asset: Strategic Alignment of Language Policy to a Sustainable Socio-economic Market for Gaelic
  • Information and Communication Technology's role in the governance of sub-national island jurisdictions (SNIJs) - successes, failures and lessons for Scotland's Island Councils


  • Eco-tourism development and freshwater biodiversity conservation in Highland Scotland; identifying pathways to future shared success
  • The sustainability of cultural tourism and its effects on communities: the case of Orkney
  • Assessing the condition of the Flow Country peatlands to support their future protection
  • Balancing socio-economic and environmental changes resulting from major infrastructure development; dualling the A9 through the Cairngorms national park