Fully-funded PhDs in Speech and Language Technologies at the University of Sheffield

SLT logo

Open to Computer Science Students

** Applications now open for September 2021 intake **

Deadline for applications: 31 January 2021.

Speech and Language Technologies (SLTs) are a range of Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches which allow computer programs or electronic devices to analyse, produce, modify or respond to human texts and speech. SLTs are underpinned by a number of fundamental research fields including natural language processing (NLP / NLProc), speech processing, computational linguistics, mathematics, machine learning, physics, psychology, computer science, and acoustics. SLTs are now established as core scientific/engineering disciplines within AI and have grown into a world-wide multi-billion dollar industry.

Located in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield – a world leading research institution in the SLT field – the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Speech and Language Technologies and their Applications is a vibrant research centre that also provides training in engineering skills, leadership, ethics, innovation, entrepreneurship, and responsibility to society.

The benefits:

  • Four-year fully-funded studentship covering fees and an enhanced stipend (£17,000 pa)
  • Generous personal allowance for research-related travel, conference attendance, specialist equipment, etc.
  • A full-time PhD with Integrated Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) incorporating 6 months of foundational speech and NLP training prior to starting your research project
  • Bespoke cohort-based training programme running over the entire four years providing the necessary skills for academic and industrial leadership in the field.
  • Supervision from a team of over 20 internationally leading SLT researchers, covering all core areas of modern SLT research, and a broader pool of over 50 academics in cognate disciplines with interests in SLTs and their application
  • Every PhD project is underpinned by a real-world application, directly supported by one of our industry partners.
  • A dedicated CDT workspace within a collaborative and inclusive research environment hosted by the Department of Computer Science
  • Work and live in Sheffield – a cultural centre on the edge of the Peak District National Park which is in the top 10 most affordable UK university cities (WhatUni? 2019).

About you:

We are looking for students from a wide range of backgrounds interested in speech and NLP.

  • High-quality (ideally first class) undergraduate or masters (ideally distinction) degree in a relevant discipline. Suitable backgrounds include (but are not limited to) computer science/software engineering; informatics; AI; speech and language processing; mathematics; physics; linguistics; cognitive science; and engineering.
  • Regardless of background, you must be able to demonstrate strong mathematical aptitude (minimally to A-Level standard or equivalent) and experience of programming.
  • We particularly encourage applications from groups that are underrepresented in technology.
  • The majority of candidates must satisfy UKRI’s updated funding eligibility criteria for ‘home’ students. Full details can be found on our website.


Applications are now sought for the September 2021 intake. The deadline is 31 January 2021.

Applications will be reviewed within 6 weeks of the deadline and short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. Interviews will be held in Sheffield or via videoconference.

See our website for full details and guidance on how to apply: https://slt-cdt.ac.uk

For an informal discussion about your application please contact us by email at: sltcdt-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk

By replying to this email or contacting sltcdt-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk you consent to being contacted by the University of Sheffield in relation to the CDT. You are free to withdraw your permission in writing at any time.