Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2) support doctoral, MPhil and research master's degree qualifications in all Welsh universities, jointly sponsored by external partners from Wales.

KESS 2 is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the higher education sector in Wales. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF).

Key participation criteria:

  • Research projects must be co-developed with an external partner with a base in Wales and demonstrate benefit to that region.
  • Projects must fit to one of the Welsh Government’s priority economic sectors:
    • ICT and digital economy
    • low carbon, energy and environment
    • life sciences and health
    • advanced engineering and materials.
  • Students who receive KESS2 scholarships must also have a home or work address in the relevant region in Wales (East or West) when they apply and enrol.
Female scientist in laboratory

Information for prospective students

Find out about the current KESS2 which offer fully funded PhD, MRes and MPhil awards for qualifying students.

Information for partners and supervisors

How your organisation can benefit from KESS2, including requirements of participation and company factsheet and how to apply.

Application deadlines

A second call is now open for KESS2 East Wales MPhil and PhD applications with a submission deadline of 11 December 2018.

KESS2 East scholarships are open to all Schools on a competitive first-come, first-served basis, and offer fully-funded studentships to applicants residing in East Wales when undertaking partnership with an external organisation. The external partner can be based in East or West Wales, as long as the benefits remain in the East, and preference is given to SMEs. Projects must fit one of the Welsh Government’s priority economic sectors, such as Life Sciences & Health, Advanced Engineering & Materials, ICT & Digital Economy, and Low Carbon, Energy & Environment.

KESS2 East

  • Complementing the KESS2 West Wales and Valleys offering, the new KESS2 East programme will cater to applicants residing in East Wales at the time of enrolment
  • The KESS2 East programme is still pending funding approval by WEFO, and this is expected in November 2018
  • Available start dates for this call are April and July 2019
  • The deadline for submissions is 11 December 2018. Having surveyed potential project leads, this is expected to be the final call for PhD studentships
  • Limited additional funding is available to cover slightly higher research costs upon request
  • MRes/MPhil studentships will be available until 2020
  • Recommendation from Bangor is that projects partnering with Health Boards or Public Trusts should engage an additional SME or charitable organisation with proof of added value to the student experience. Keep in mind this secondary partner will not be required to contribute cash to the project
  • We currently hold a 100% approval rate with the KESS central panel
  • Applications that result in cohesive student cohorts are encouraged eg working with the same organisation, working with multiple organisations on a common challenge.

No further PhD places are available for West Wales.  West MPhil and MRes applications can be submitted at any time.

Please download the project application form to apply.

Priority will be given to private sector partners and partners who have not previously received KESS2 funding.

Current KESS2 vacancies.

Contact us

Esther Meadows

Finance and Compliance Project Officer

Our funders

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the Higher Education sector in Wales. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF).