Students Staff

Our research

PhD studentships

Water droplet on the end of a leaf

PhD studentships are now open for 2018 entry - view and apply now. Projects range across the spectrum of our expertise.

Our research covers the whole spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Two-thirds of our research was rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014)

From our flagship Coral Reef Research Unit, looking at the impact of climate change on coral reefs, to research into the early signs associated with the development of breast cancer, our scientists cover a wide range of disciplines.

Our expertise

We conduct research in four main areas:

Each group brings together like-minded researchers to share ideas, knowledge, laboratories and equipment in the pursuit of fundamental and applied research that addresses national and international priorities.  

The groups also manage progression of PhD students and career development of early career researchers, run seminar programmes, and are involved in international and national collaborations, contributing to a vibrant research environment. 

The School has made significant investments in research infrastructure, providing researchers and students with well-equipped laboratories that house state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

Research Repository

Research greenhouse

The Research Repository contains an extensive range of publications by members of our University. You can search for any publications by subject, journal or publication title, publisher, creator and more. You will find leading biological sciences research within our Repository.

Postgraduate study


Postgraduate study with us gives you the chance to contribute to the research we are renowned for. You can expect specialist training in a research-intensive and supportive environment from top academics using state-of-the-art facilities.

Coral Reef Research Unit

Coral Reef Research

We conduct research within coral reef biodiversity and work with international organisations such as the Indonesian Institute of Science, the Honduras Coral Reef Foundation and the Suez Canal University in Egypt. Students also attend field trips in Indonesia.

PG Research Finder

Students at computers

Use our Research Finder to find the right PhD or supervisor for you. PhD study at Essex lets you investigate your topic in depth, develop new skills, enhance your professional development and build networks.