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Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 114 Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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Biological Sciences

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I am a UK student


We have 114 Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

A Bioinformatics PhD would provide you with the opportunity to work on an extended, in-detail project through the analysis of large sets of data. Bioinformatics programmes tend to be mostly ‘dry’ work with limited (if any) time in the laboratory conducting experiments. Since the focus is analysis of data, the choice of projects spans many subjects from analysing bacterial evolution, to modelling the spread of disease.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Bioinformatics?

As a Bioinformatics PhD student, you’ll work with the latest software and become proficient with programming in R, Python and MATLAB. You’ll also gain extensive experience with techniques from statistics and data science, all of which will allow you to analyse data effectively.

Some typical research topics in Bioinformatics include:

  • Genetic mapping
  • Population dynamics
  • Epidemiological modelling (modelling disease spread)
  • Improving diagnosis through the development of an algorithm
  • Using omic technology to study a disease state
  • Modelling and predicting evolution

Most Bioinformatics programmes advertised projects with full funding attached. These projects have a pre-determined aim, but you can alter the project along the way to suit your interests.

Compared to other Biology programmes, there is more opportunity of proposing a project, though this remains uncommon. While the majority are advertised projects, some doctoral training programmes offer bioinformatics projects in a given area and leave you to propose the specifics of the project.

In a normal day you’ll be writing programmes to identify new features in the data, analysing results using statistics and data science methods and discussing your project with your supervisor and colleagues.

At the end of the three or four years you’ll complete a thesis of around 60,000 words, which will contribute to your field and you’ll defend it during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Bioinformatics PhD programmes involve a Masters in a related subject including Maths, Biological Science, Computer Science, or Software Engineering, with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Bioinformatics funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Bioinformatics PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Bioinformatics PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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