Midlands4Cities (M4C) offers you:

  • Funding including tuition fees, maintenance grant, and research development, training and placement funds. The total package for 2023 to 2024 was £23,334 tax-free plus other funding opportunities
  • Supervision from experienced academics across eight universities
  • Placements with regional, national and international partners
  • Training in both research and career skills
  • Networking and collaboration with other M4C students, our academics and research partners

Midlands4Cities is open to both home and international applicants.

M4C is a collaboration between eight leading universities across the Midlands - the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham. Find out more about the M4C Partnership.

Types of M4C awards

There are two types of PhD awards through Midlands4Cities:


Open Doctoral Award (ODA)

You'll agree a research project with your supervisors. You will have a minimum of two supervisors who will offer expert guidance, support and feedback throughout your research. University of Nottingham academics are leading specialists in their fields with years of experience in successfully supervising PhD candidates.

Although you will be a University of Nottingham researcher you can also have co-supervisors from any of the other Midlands4Cities universities where their experience and expertise is an appropriate fit for your research topic.

You're encouraged to get in touch with potential supervisors as early as possible. They can use their experience to advise on suitability for M4C applications, co-supervisors and writing applications.



There are four steps to applying for an ODA at Nottingham:

1) Check our research areas

Opportunities across the arts and humanities

View our PhDs
2) Find your supervisors

Expert and experienced supervision from our world-class researchers

Explore supervisor specialisms


3) Apply for your PhD

Guidance on how to apply to Nottingham

Apply to Nottingham
4) Apply for M4C funding

Application deadline: 10 January 2024 (for 2024 start)

M4C application portal



Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA)

We offer a number of diverse and unique project opportunities in partnership with national, regional, and local partners. Your supervision team is already set. As well as producing your thesis you also gain first-hand experience of working with an organisation outside the university environment.



There are three steps to applying for a CDA at Nottingham:

1) Find your project

Contact the lead supervisor to find out more

Explore the projects
2) Apply for your PhD

Guidance on how to apply to Nottingham

Make your application to Nottingham
3) Apply for M4C funding

Application deadline: 10 January 2024 (for 2024 start)

Midlands4Cities application portal



Application writing workshops

Each year M4C run a series of application writing workshops to help you with your application. The Nottingham workshop is on Saturday 4 November and will be held on MS Teams. Register for the workshop.


Explore the full Midlands4Cities offer:


Portrait of Imogen staring at camera, looking serious

Midlands4Cities funding is the only reason I'm here to be completely honest. I couldn't afford to do a PhD otherwise.

It puts everyone on a level playing field. So it's not like university where you may really feel the financial difference of different people's situations, which can feel very unfair. Now it feels like it's much more even and there's less disparity.

Imogen Kauffman - PhD researcher exploring opinions, experiences and identities within gaming spaces.


Other sources of funding for PhD research in the Faculty of Arts