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Details for 2023 Applicants

Application Details Below

SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme

Supporting European Research Placements through EaSI-CAT

This programme will establish and deliver high-quality research exchanges in Chemical Catalysis of between 3-to-6-months for post-graduate researchers (PGRs) and Early Career Researchers (ECRs).


This bilateral scheme will facilitate both outgoing and incoming exchanges between the six partner institutions, three in Scotland (Universities of St Andrews, Heriot-Watt, and Edinburgh who collectively run the EaSI-CAT doctoral training programme) and three in Germany (University of Münster (UoM), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Technical University of Munich (TUM)).


The programme will be open to both PGRs and ECRs with applicants selected based on the scientific case, the establishment of new and potentially long-term collaborations, benefits of visiting the partner laboratory and career stage.


For the purposes of this scheme an ECR is defined as anyone on a PDRA contract, an early career personal fellowship or within 5 years of appointment.

We hope to fund up to 20 outgoing/incoming placements from January 2022 to August 2022, with an additional 20 outgoing/incoming placements from Sept 2022 to Aug 2023. Placements should be between 3 and 6 months in duration.

Assessment Process

Each proposal must lie within the EaSI-CAT remit of chemical catalysis and will be assessed based on the following criteria.

  1. The scientific merit of the case, including promoting either new, or strengthening existing, research collaborations or providing significant training in new skills for the applicant

  2. The benefits to the applicant, including potential impact on individual careers

  3. Relevance of the skills gained / equipment / training / exchange to the broad remit of the programme


A selection committee comprising PIs from all partner institutions will assess and rank the applications, and assign funding, with ED&I oversight. All successful applicants will be required to complete a short report regarding the outcome of their visit.

Feedback will be given to all unsuccessful applicants. An unsuccessful application will not preclude further submissions to subsequent calls within this program.

Round 1 Deadline for applications: Friday 26th November 2021.

Dependent upon funding another call for this scheme may be opened in early 2022.


Submit your application to Prof. Andrew Smith (

Enquiries should be directed to: Prof. Andrew Smith (University of St Andrews;; Prof. Stuart Macgregor (Heriot-Watt;; Dr Stephen Thomas (University of Edinburgh;

Placements for this call need to be completed by August 2022.

EaSI-CAT PhD Applications 2023


EaSI-CAT (East of Scotland Industrial Catalysis) is a doctoral training programme operated by Edinburgh, St Andrews and Heriot-Watt Universities that incorporates the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis.

EaSI-CAT PhD Positions

EaSI-CAT PhD studentships will be advertised here in due course.


Students enrolled in the EaSI-CAT programme receive research-skills training, complete a 3-month “Industry Challenge Project” and undertake a 3-month research placement within an industrial setting. Students also participate in three workshops per year to receive additional research training. An overview of an EaSI-CAT PhD is shown below:

ESI Programme V2.png

Induction and Skills Training Week: Students begin their PhD studies with a week of skills training in which they meet other students enrolled on the EaSI-CAT programme and learn important research skills that will be reinforced throughout their PhD research.

Industry Challenge Projects: At the beginning of their second year of study, EaSI-CAT students undertake a 12-week research project in collaboration with an industrial partner. The project tackles an industrially relevant problem providing students with experience of a variety of chemical research.

3-Month Placements: Students enrolled in the EaSI-CAT programme have the opportunity to undertake a 3-month industrial placement as part of their studies. Placements are not required to align with PhD research, but rather allow students to experience new areas of research and develop complementary skills while working on a project of interest to industry.

How to Apply

Interested candidates are asked to submit an application that includes:

  • A curriculum vitae

  • A cover letter detailing why they wish to pursue a PhD

  • Transcript of grades obtained

  • At least one “letter of support” from an academic supervisor, line manager or equivalent
    (Letters of support can be included in your application. Alternatively, your referee can send the letter directly to

Completed applications should be sent to Applicants are also asked to carbon copy their application to Andrew Smith (


The deadline for applications is Friday 20th January 2023.

The Process


After the closing date, all applications will be assessed by a panel. Prospective candidates who make the shortlist will then be invited for an interview. 


Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview in which they can meet with current PhD students and prospective supervisors. Each candidate is asked to deliver a 15 minute presentation on a research project they have been involved in. This is followed by general questions around your motivations for joining the EaSI-CAT programme. 


UK and EU students will be eligible for full fee studentships. UK and EU students will also be eligible to receive a stipend (currently £15,009 p.a.) throughout their 4-year course. Applications are welcomed from UK/EU students with, or expecting to gain, a first or upper second class honours MSci/MChem/BSc degree (or equivalent). For non-UK/EU candidates a limited number of Overseas Fees Scholarships may be available for outstanding candidates.

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