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Postgraduate Admissions


The University of Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), is pleased to offer an Administrative Data Research (ADR) UK studentship, available for admission in October 2023 in the Faculty of Education.

The PhD studentship is part of a set of ADR UK studentships using linked administrative data. The ADR UK PhD studentships will use ADR UK's new linked flagship datasets to answer policy-relevant research questions, and promote the wider use of administrative data for research.

The studentship will be a three-year doctoral programme and will be supervised by Dr Sonia Ilie and Prof Ricardo Sabates, both at the Faculty of Education.

The Project: The Cambridge ADR UK Studentship 2023: A-Level Subject Choices and Higher Education Access will make specific use of a newly available linked administrative data resource, GRADE. Linking together data from the National Pupil Database, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), and the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the GRADE dataset allows for the exploration of a series of research questions relevant to educational policy.

The principal aim of this studentship is to explore higher education applications made, and offers received, by individual applicants and how these relate to subject choice at A-level and the teacher-predicted and actual educational attainment of applicants. Within that, the studentship will also explore the influence of richly-defined socio-economic background on subject choice, predicted and actual grades, and higher education applications.

The Candidate: Applicants to the studentship must demonstrate: - experience and good understanding of using quantitative research and analytical methods; - experience and good understanding of using administrative data sources; - a good understanding of the UK education system.

Once admitted to the studentship, the applicant will need to obtain Accredited Researcher Status, either full or provisional, from the Office for National Statistics. Support will be provided in relation to this.

The holder of the studentship will be part of the University of Cambridge ESRC DTP. ESRC DTP students will acquire a unique set of skills that will equip them for high-profile careers as leading social scientists, in academia or in other government, industrial, commercial and third sector organisations, either in the UK or elsewhere. Additionally, the holder of the studentship will also receive support from ADR UK to ensure they can make the most of this opportunity. This will include facilitated networking between students and supervisors across all ADR UK studentships.

Cambridge ESRC DTP studentships are open to all students, both Home and International who demonstrate the required academic potential.

An ESRC DTP studentship will cover fees at the Home rate and provide £17,668 p.a. in living costs (current rates). DTP students also receive a personal allowance for additional training costs, and can apply for further funding to pursue fieldwork, academic exchange, and collaboration with non-academic partner organisations.

Applicants can find out more about the Cambridge ESRC DTP at: and read about some of the opportunities that will be available to the studentship holder.

Applications for this studentship should be submitted via the University of Cambridge Applicant Portal with Dr Sonia Ilie identified as the potential supervisor.

Guidance on using the Applicant Portal and all documentation required as part of the application is available at:

As part of the supporting documentation for the application, applicants will be asked to provide a Research Proposal and a Personal Statement.

In the Research Proposal applicants should outline the specific research questions and methodological approach you would propose to take to address the aim of the studentship as specified above; and how the applicant's particular skills and experience relate to the candidate characteristics outlined above. General guidance for drafting a research proposal for a PhD in Education can be found at:

In the Personal Statement applicants should provide a holistic account of their reasons for applying to the studentship, their educational or professional experiences that have led them to this point, and any other information in support of their application. General guidance about the personal statement can be found at:

The closing date for applications will be 28 February 2023.

Applicants can find out more about the Faculty of Education at

Please address any questions about this studentship to Dr Sonia Ilie, at

Please quote reference JR35002 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

Key Information

Faculty of Education

Reference: JR35002

Dates and deadlines:

Monday, 16 January, 2023
Closing Date
Tuesday, 28 February, 2023