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DTP Student FAQs

Here are answers to common queries from DTP students. Please refer to the DTP Handbook for more detailed information on the programme.


Who is the DTP Student Representative?

We would like hear your thoughts on all aspects of the programme, so we aim to have a student representative for each year.

2012/13 Cohort - Alberto Perez-Riba

2013/14 Cohort - Megan Eldred

2014/15 Cohort - Amy Charbonneau

The Student Reps sit on the DTP Management Committee and provide feedback on the course and student experience. 

Is it possible to sign up to courses that are offered by other/some departments?

Yes, depending on the approval of that department and provided that your supervisor and DoS are in agreement.  However, students in their first year should be aware of their other commitments, such as the SysMIC training and short research projects, and not try to spread themselves too thinly. 

Are there any travel expenses associated with the studentship?

Students funded by the BBSRC DTP are eligible for £300 pa for conference attendance or other relevant travel (eg to visit a collaborator).  Other students following the DTP programme should contact their funding bodies to see if funds are available.  Most Colleges also provide support for conference attendance. In addition, the Cambridge Philosophical Society, whose purpose is ‘promoting scientific inquiry’, provides travel awards to members of more than one year’s standing. See for information on the Society, including how to join

What funding is available to me for consumables/research expenses?

During the first year, £1500 is available for each short research project.  During years 2-4, up to £5000pa is available.  These funds are administered by your host Departments(s).

Can I order additional software for my laptop?

Yes, but seek approval from your supervisor before doing so.  Any cost will come from your consumables budget.

Who is the contact for IT support for any laptop/software issues?

For help with software or hardware installation on the Laptop you were provided with, contact Mr Paul Judge in the School of Biological Sciences Bioinformatics Facility (  For IT support during your rotations or PhD project please contact the IT support in your host department/institution.

Rotation Project

When can I expect feedback on my rotation project reports?

We aim to provide feedback within 2-3 weeks of submission

Why do I need to submit 3 rotation project choices?

Two reasons:  firstly, we ask for details of available projects some months in advance and there is always the possibility that your chosen project is no longer available; secondly, you might not be the only student to choose that project – and thus a second choice might need to be allocated. .

Rotation report – does the preface and the title count for the word limit?


Do references count towards the word limit?


I am assigned to the Food Security theme however I have found some projects outside my theme very interesting.  Should I still submit only 3 choices, for example 2 from my theme and none from another theme?  Am I allowed to submit more than 1 choice of the project, which is not in my assigned theme?

We would advise that you talk this through with your Director of Studies.  You can submit 3 project choices, in any theme, although it is expected that at least one of your projects will be in your assigned theme.

How are rotation project allocations made?  Would it be matched with my experience therefore I should apply for the projects that are connected with my previous lab/research experience?

Not necessarily. It would be wise to contact the proposed project PI in advance of submitting your project choice to ensure that the project is right for you.

Is there scope for us to organise projects or must they come from the project list?

There is scope for you to organise projects, although they must be approved by the Education Committee to ensure their suitability.

Is there a pro forma for the research project write up?

No.  As independent researchers you should not expect a pro forma.  There is guidance in the Handbook as to what to include in each section of the report. 

Will I be able to find out who has assessed my research project?


Could we use the numbering system of referencing in the main body of text for our rotation reports?


What happens if at the end of my rotation project there is still money on the grant?  Does this mean it will go into our ‘pot’ to use on our PhD project?

No.  Unused funds will be returned to the DTP Programme.

PhD Project

Is there scope for us to organise projects or must they come from the list?

There is scope for you to organise projects in discussion with your prospective Supervisor, although they must be approved by the Education Committee to ensure their suitability and the relevant strategic theme.

PIPS in the PhD Proposal – to what level of detail are we supposed to go in to?

At this point we would expect you to have an idea of when you propose to take your PIPS so as to fit into your research project, and also provide some detail of the experience you would like to gain.

Does the PhD Proposal need to have a declaration at the front similar to the one for rotation write ups?


MRes Viva

What is the subject matter of the viva?

The viva will involve discussion of both your project proposal and aspects of your rotation projects, and may also touch on your experience of the programme generally.

When will I find out the results of the viva?

You can expect to hear confirmation of your results 2-3 weeks after the viva.  This timescale is because results are reviewed by the Education Committee and the Examiners.

Do I have to organise my own viva?

No, the viva will be organised by the DTP Administrator in conjunction with your supervisor.

Can I attend a graduation ceremony to be awarded my MRes?