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Postgraduate studentships

The Pirbright Institute has formed partnerships with a number of different universities and companies in the UK to offer a selection of exciting studentships studying viral infections of animals.

These partnerships offer students an exceptional opportunity to obtain a broad view of infectious disease research in a rich, stimulating and unique research environment. Students will have the opportunity to work with the different partners involved in their project, thereby giving them access to novel ways of tackling the problems of livestock diseases through interdisciplinary, cross-institutional approaches. This will be coupled to core skills training at the student’s host institutions, providing flexible training options and experiences that will support a wide range of career choices.

Watch this short film to find out more about PhD studentships at The Pirbright Institute:

Visit the Postgraduate Benefits page to watch our Student Spotlight interviews in full and gain insight from current PhD students.

Studentship Funding Eligibility:

For further information on funding eligibility please refer to UKRI Full Eligibility Criteria (Annex One)

Current opportunities


Ref Number Closing Date PhD Studentship Supervisors Project Details
2023/01 03.02.23

Investigation of the role of the s2m motif in IBV replication and pathogenicity

Dr Sarah KeepDr Erica BickertonDr Trevor Sweeney (The Pirbright Institute); Dr Valeria Lulla, Prof Ian Brierley (University of Cambridge)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect a diverse number of species, including humans, birds and livestock. Consequently, coronavirus infections have significant impact not only on human health but also animal health and welfare. The avian coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) is the aetiological agent of an acute highly contagious economically relevant respiratory disease of poultry. Vaccination and biosecurity protocols are used in an effort to control IBV infections however there is a constant emergence of new serotypes and genotypes. There is therefore a drive to understand IBV replication in order to establish novel control mechanisms, including the development of a new generation of vaccines.  Full details and to apply

N/A Various Investigation of novel methods to study the survival of foot-and-mouth disease virus in aerosols Dr Claire ColenuttDr Simon Gubbins (The Pirbright Institute), Prof Jonathan Reid (University of Bristol)

Our ability to predict and control the spread of disease via aerosols is dependent on understanding how pathogens behave in an aerosolised state. This project will develop and validate innovative approaches to investigate the airborne survival of contemporary strains of foot-and-mouth disease virus. Generation of survival data using novel methods for this economically important livestock pathogen will contribute to understanding how and when airborne transmission events can occur and the role these events play in the epidemiology of the disease.  



The Pirbright Institute has the following studentships which should be applied for through our partner organisations:  

Partner Organisation PhD Studentship Supervisors
University of Surrey    



How to apply:

See 'how to apply' page for details.

General enquiries can be emailed to

Studentships provide for tuition fees and stipend depending on eligibility (see project advert for details).


UK Posgraduate Doctoral Loans:

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan (of up to £27,892) can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.  Students in receipt of Research Council funding are not eligible.  Details can be found here.

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