This page lists details of current funded PhD opportunities for new candidates applying to undertake a research degree at the University of Cumbria.

Industry-focused PhDs

Looking for a PhD with a difference? The University of Cumbria has funded PhD opportunities starting in 2017 for real-world research with leading local businesses, supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

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*New funded PhD opportunity*



Kendal Mountain Festival: Building A Values-Based Measure of Sustainability

Kendal Mountain Festival logo

The Project

Kendal Mountain Festival is a world leading event that seeks to set the highest standards of innovation, inclusivity and creativity, celebrating everything outdoors. Kendal Mountain Festival aims to become a ‘Beacon of Excellence’ in festival sustainability whereby core organisational values inform festival design and support downstream influence. This project presents a unique opportunity to develop a Sustainability Strategy & Management framework to measure and assess the legacy/values transfer influence on the festival, stakeholders and visitors.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To establish the baseline of values-based behaviours of Kendal Mountain Festival and a range of stakeholders including partners, venues, visitors and the town of Kendal.
  2. Introduce a performance ranking framework for overall event sustainability, sustainability values, performance area and indicator over subsequent years.
  3. To measure and assess the behaviour and values of Kendal Mountain Festival, its stakeholders and visitors, using a range of direct and indirect interventions.
  1. To measure and assess legacy/values transfer across different levels of engagement:
  2. organisers, venues, exhibitors, audience, local community
  3. To use evaluative assessment to provide an evidence base for implementation/success of future sustainable initiatives/performance.

This project will utilise a range of innovative methods to establish, monitor and evaluate values, beliefs and environmental focussed behaviours. Outputs will be used to develop a sustainability index toolbox that can be applied to assess the reach and influence of corporate social responsibility.

This is an exciting opportunity for an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the environment to shape and deliver this project in partnership with the University of Cumbria and Kendal Mountain Events Ltd based in the stunning Lake District National Park, UK. You will be joining a creative team where energy, enthusiasm and big ideas are essential!

Industry partner

This doctoral research project, supervised by the University of Cumbria, will be based at Kendal Mountain Events Ltd, in the town of Kendal. The main component of Kendal Mountain Events Ltd is the Kendal Mountain Festival held each November.  Kendal Mountain Festival is an award–winning, innovative, inclusive and creative celebration of everything outdoors. ‘Kendal’ is renowned for setting the standard for adventure festivals worldwide and is recognised as the main annual social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK and Europe

Kendal Mountain Events Ltd is also responsible for delivering a range of events, including the Worldwide & UK Kendal Film Nights; the UK Festival Live Tours; the Film and International Adventure Festivals in China, Mexico, and Ireland, plus in other cities in countries worldwide; and Kendal Mountain Media.


This is a fully funded* PhD supported by the ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria project led by the University of Cumbria. The University is committed to providing excellence in academic practice together with a supportive and stimulating environment in which to conduct your studies.

  • Full-time PhD – annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 p.a. for 3 years
  • Tuition fees paid for by the industry sponsor (Home/EU fee)*
  • Become part of a cohort of student researchers working on industry-led projects in eco-innovation.

*International students are required to fund difference between Home/EU and International tuition fee

Application process

To apply please visit the website for details of the entry requirements which must be met and to access the application form. Under the Research Proposal section of the form please summarise your approach to the proposed project outlined in this advert under the following headings:  General Overview of Area, Identification of the Relevant Literature, Key Research Questions, Methodology, Timescale/Research Planning

Please include a covering letter telling us why you want to study for a PhD, what interests you about this project and highlight the skills and experience you will bring.

For any queries relating to admissions please contact Research Student Admissions   

If you wish to find out more about the project in the first instance please contact: Dr Darrell Smith, University of Cumbria  or Steve Scott, Director, Kendal Mountain Events Ltd.

Closing date: 31 July 2017 

Interviews to be conducted in late August / early September in Cumbria. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation on their approach to the research proposal.                                                            

Look out for further updates on new funded industry focussed PhD opportunities

In total, up to 3 industry-focused three year funded PhDs for home/EU students will be open for applications. Further project opportunities will be advertised soon. Express your interest now for these highly competitive opportunities, by emailing For more information on the project, see

This is an excellent opportunity for those wanting a career in research and development by gaining a doctorate whilst gaining first-hand experience and skills working with a Cumbrian business. You will be working with a leading high-growth business undertaking intensive R&D on a specific research project to underpin the development of a new product or service, using this work as the basis of your PhD programme of study. This collaboration between academia and business aims to increase the number of businesses engaging in knowledge exchange and collaborative research so that they are able to bring new products to the market. We are looking for graduates with a background in a wide range of subjects, including environmental science, eco-system assessment, low-carbon energy, forensic science, biomedical science, chemistry, technology enhanced learning, sports science (biomechanics, physiology and psychology), health science, radiation protection, ecology, conservation and more…

Why do an industry-focused PhD?

  • Do you want to develop your skills and experience to undertake a rewarding and well-paid career?       
  • Have you considered doing a PhD but thought that was just for people wanting to be academics?       
  • Are you interested in how new products, processes and services are developed?       
  • Do you want undertake a research degree, but want to be sure it will have positive and immediate effects in the real world?
  • Do you want to work alongside the people in businesses doing your dream job whilst gaining a PhD?      

If the answer is yes, contact Research Student Admissions ( now to register your interest and receive further information once projects become available for application.

Successful applicants could:

  • Receive £15,000 tax-free per year
  • Undertake a substantive collaborative project with a business with a base in the North West of England
  • EU/UK candidates - have your postgraduate research tuition fees fully funded for by your partner business, worth £4,052/year 
  • Become part of a cohort of graduates working with an award-winning team on business-led R&D
  • Develop new products, processes and services
  • Be in an enviable position to develop a long-term well-paid career
  • Complete a PhD in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas


Sellafield Bursary

The University of Cumbria has up to two bursaries available for females resident in the UK and wishing to undertake a PhD in a STEMM subject.

To apply for the Sellafield Ltd - University of Cumbria Bursary, you will need to submit a University of Cumbria Graduate School application form and a research proposal (see How to apply for details), as well as supporting documents as listed below to with 'Sellafield Ltd - University of Cumbria Bursary' in the subject line.

Subject areas for research proposals could include:

  • Analytical, Materials Chemistry and Materials Science
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Catchment Management
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology (behavioural, population, landscape)
  • Ecosystem Assessment
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Forestry and forest management
  • Human health
  • Infection studies
  • Medical imaging sciences
  • Upland management sustainability
  • Viral epidemiology

The bursary is not intended to fully cover the costs of undertaking a PhD, and provides a bursary of up to £3000 per annum for up to three years as a contribution towards the cost of study. This is a competitive opportunity, and applicants are expected to provide a brief statement on how successful award of a bursary would impact your study. Additional information may also be requested, and other terms, conditions and eligibility criteria may apply. Successful applicants are expected to act as an ambassador for the University of Cumbria and take part in ambassador activities on behalf of Sellafield Ltd with associated media coverage and promotional events.

For more information on this opportunity, or to express an interest, please contact

Check this page regularly for future funded PhD opportunities...