Address and contacts

General Secretary
Anne Shepherd
Population Investigation Committee
Room POR.2.01
London School of Economics
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE 

Tel: 020 7955 7666

Scholarship fund

ESRC/PIC Masters Studentship Scheme in Population Studies

History and aim of the scheme

The Population Investigation Committee (PIC) established a scholarship fund in 1996 because UK students were having difficulty in obtaining funding for the further study of demography beyond undergraduate level. In 2009, the ESRC & the PIC entered into a funding agreement for a five-year period to enable additional scholarships to be offered under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies. This was then extended for a further three years, but the joint scheme will end after the 2016 intake as no further ESRC funding will be available.

The aim of the scheme is to aid the recruitment & initial development of talented students in demography by contributing to student fees and maintenance costs. The ESRC has entered into the scheme to build capacity in a priority area for the Council. The ambition within the co-funding agreement is to actively increase the research capacity within Demography in the UK.

Eligibility and residential criteria

Eligibility for the Scholarships is restricted to students accepted on a Masters degree course with a high demographic content, leading to a Masters qualification at an ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centre.  Potentially eligible consortia and the associated pathways are:

Bloomsbury Consortium DTC

Approved pathways:
MSc Demography and Health – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Consortium contact Lynda Clarke –

Cambridge DTC

Approved pathways were not identified in 2015. See eligibility criteria.
Contact the PIC to discuss possible pathways.

Kings College DTC

Approved pathways were not identified in 2015. See eligibility criteria.
Contact the PIC to discuss possible pathways.

London School of Economics & Political Science DTC

Approved pathways:
MSc Social Research Methods (Population)
MSc Health, Population & Society
MSc Population & Development (with a high proportion of demographic course units)
Consortium contact Dr Ernestina Coast -

North East Consortium DTC

Approved pathways were not identified in 2015. See eligibility criteria.
Contact the PIC to discuss possible pathways.

North West Consortium DTC

University of Liverpool approved pathways:
MA Research Methodology (Population Studies)
MSc Population & Health
Other approved pathways were not identified in 2015 – contact the PIC to discuss eligibility.
Consortium contact Dr Gemma Catney -

Oxford DTC

Economic and Social History.
Approved pathways were not identified in 2015. See eligibility criteria.
Contact the PIC to discuss eligibility.

Scottish Consortium DTC

University of Dundee approved pathway:
MSc Applied Population & Welfare Geography.
Other approved pathways may be identified – contact the PIC to discuss eligibility.
Consortium contact Dr. Lorraine van Blerk –  

Southampton DTC

Approved pathways:
MSc Demography
MSc Social Statistics (Research Methods Pathway with a high proportion of demographic units)
Other approved pathways may be identified – contact the PIC to discuss eligibility.
Consortium contact Dr Jennifer Holland -  

Additional research training pathways at the above and other ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres MAY be eligible if the institution can show that these pathways would meet the agreed aims of the scheme ‘to actively increase the research capacity within Demography’. Prospective students would be expected to take a high proportion (75%) of course units with demographic training content and candidates would be monitored to ensure these courses were those studied. Please contact the PIC initially.

All candidates must meet ESRC residential and academic criteria

Residential criteria: Scholarships will only be awarded to students who are normally UK resident or EU students meeting standard ESRC eligibility requirements. All candidates should have settled status in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for at least three years. Residence in the UK as a full-time student does not automatically qualify non-EU nationals for an award. Institutions applying on behalf of candidates are responsible for ensuring that the residential criteria are fulfilled. Relaxed international eligibility criteria do not apply to these awards.

Details of residential criteria can be accessed here. (Pages 45-48 - Annex 1 - residential criteria)

Academic criteria: Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second class level, from a UK academic institution. In the majority of cases, candidates will have undertaken an undergraduate course at a recognised UK higher education institution. However, some may have qualifications from outside the UK, or be able to offer a combination of qualifications and/or experience. In both cases it will be necessary for the institution where the candidate proposes to study to ascertain whether these qualifications can be equated to an honours degree and at what level. A less than sufficient first degree may be enhanced by the attainment of a Masters degree. If a candidate is applying who has enhanced their degree, enough information should be given to show that this has sufficiently enhanced the candidate’s knowledge to ESRC/PIC standards.

Number of awards available in 2016

In 2016 , for the academic year 2016-2017, a maximum of SEVEN awards will be available.  

Please note that, after the 2016 round of awards, he ESRC will withdraw from supporting the scheme and its future remains uncertain at this time.

Value of awards

The value of a scholarship in 2016 will be £15,000, to include tuition fees. An initial payment of £12,000 is made at the beginning of the academic year from which it is expected that tuition fees will be deducted. Institutions can deduct tuition fees up to the maximum agreed RCUK level. (2016 level not yet announced). The balance of £3,000 is paid in late February or early March of the following year, on receipt of a satisfactory progress report from the student’s supervisor. Awards are usually administered by the institution at which the student will be studying and maintenance may well be paid out in instalments.

Application and assessment process

APPLICATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED DIRECTLY FROM INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS. One named contact at each ESRC Doctoral Training Centre will coordinate applications, and will be invited to apply on behalf of suitable candidates at the beginning of April 2016. Five applications per Doctoral Training Centre, presented in ranked order, are the maximum number allowed. Applications can be accepted from students wishing to study part-time over a two-year period (when the amount of the award will be split between the two years.) Scholarships are not available to students subsequently awarded or holding major grants from other sources such as Research Councils. The closing date for applications in 2016 will be Thursday 30 June 2016. Each application will be assessed by an Assessment Panel of four academics drawn from the PIC’s Scholarship Committee and the ESRC’s Training and Skills Committee. All candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application by the end of July 2016.  

Applications via Doctoral Training Centres should consist of five copies each of:

Candidates will be expected to be planning a career in demographic research, or in an area where demographic skills are a necessity. Previous experience of quantitative methods is not essential but would be welcomed, although candidates should be able to demonstrate that they have the numerical skills needed to acquire these essential research methods.

Applications will be graded based on the evidence of initial qualifications & references provided, (although the qualifications themselves do not attract a specific grade), outline of proposed research area, demonstration of commitment to demography, relevant experience, & the demonstration or development of quantitative skills.

On completion of their course, successful candidates will be required to return an assessment of their course on the form provided, which will also ask for information about future work or study intentions to aid the monitoring & assessment of the scheme. It is the responsibility of the DTC at which the student is studying to ensure the assessment is returned in a timely fashion.

Population Investigation Committee
London School of Economics
Houghton Street,
London WC2A 2AE

Tel: 020 7955 7666

Population Investigation Committee