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Biotechnology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 46 Biotechnology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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Biological Sciences

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I am a European student


We have 46 Biotechnology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

A Biotechnology PhD would provide you with the time and resources to research and develop methods and technologies that make use of Biology to improve industry. This could range from improving the efficiency of a biofuel, engineering pigment-producing bacteria to use to dye fabric, or genetically modifying crops to be resistant to a specific pest.

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

A PhD in Biotechnology would allow you to develop a specialist set of laboratory skills in areas such as gene editing with CRISPR and gene delivery through transformation, transfection, and transduction. Biotechnology programmes sometimes have a linked industry partner, in which case, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in a work placement and gain some hands-on industry experience.

Some typical research topics in Biotechnology include:

  • Developing therapeutic delivery vehicles
  • Engineering enzymes for industry
  • Developing or improving biofuels
  • Innovating new methods of using bacteria in industry
  • Vaccine development
  • Developing pest resistant crops

PhD programmes in Biotechnology are mostly fully-funded by either the university, an industrial partner, a doctoral training programme or a mix of these. The projects tend to be advertised, with the scope of the project determined by the supervisor.

Proposing your own project in Biotechnology is uncommon since you need to find a supervisor with research interests that overlap with yours, with all the equipment and expertise you require, and you’ll have to find funding to cover bench and PhD fees.

Day-to-day, you’ll be in the laboratory performing experiments, creating figures and analysing data you collected previously, and talking to your colleagues and supervisor about your methods and results. On completion of your laboratory work in your final year, you’ll submit an original thesis of around 60,000 words and defend this during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Biotechnology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology 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 Biotechnology funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Biotechnology 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 Biotechnology 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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Advanced imaging of particulate–biofilm interactions

Project Context. Applications are invited for a PhD position as a part of a European Research Council (ERC) funded project. Wastewater treatment (WWT) processes that use biofilms as their biocatalyst have been in use for over 100 years. Read more

Imaging-based analysis of signaling pathways triggered by immune checkpoint receptors

Commercial partner. MiroBio Ltd / Gilead Sciences. , Oxford. Adverse immunological reactions to self and foreign antigens and other situations of abnormal lymphocyte growth are the cause of autoimmune disease, hypersensitivity and asthma, and also lymphoid cancer and transplant rejection. Read more

Assessing the prospective utility of AlzoSure® Predict in a UK clinical research cohorts to assess risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Commercial partner: . Diadem Research Ltd. , London. The proposed project is in the field of neurodegeneration and fits within the MRC strategic theme of prevention and early detection, facilitating earlier diagnosis and improved clinical management. Read more

Engineering skeletal muscle using a humanoid bioreactor platform

Commercial partner: . Devanthro GmbH. , Munich, Germany. Skeletal muscle is the largest organ system in the body by mass and is necessary to generate forces for movement and locomotion. Read more

Cutaneous human immune challenge for the development and evaluation of therapeutics

Commercial partner: . DJS Antibodies. , Oxford. Human immune challenge (HIC), where an exogenous stimulant is employed to transiently induce normally quiescent pathways and cell populations in healthy volunteers (HV), permits unique insights into fundamental biology at high temporal and spatial resolution. Read more

Immune modulation by checkpoint receptor targeting

Commercial partner: . MiroBio Ltd / Gilead Sciences. , Oxford. Signalling by inhibitory co-receptors, also termed immune checkpoint receptors, such as PD-1, reduces T cell function and promotes T cell exhaustion, compromising the immune response to pathogens and cancer cells. Read more

Study cytosine methylation in RNA

Commercial partner: . Exact Sciences Innovation. , Oxford. Cellular RNA is decorated with diverse chemical modifications, which participate in all aspects of RNA biology. Read more

In silico characterisation of portal proteins for application as biosensors

Commercial partner: . Oxford Nanopore Technologies. , Oxford. Introduction: Next generation DNA sequencing via nanopores pioneered by Oxford Nanopore Technologies uses an engineered version of the E. Read more

Characterisation and treatment of patient iPSC-derived retinal organoids as an in vitro model of inherited retinal disease

Commercial partner: . Newcells Biotech Ltd. , Newcastle upon Tyne. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived 3D retinal organoids (ROs) mimic the architecture of the mammalian retina and can therefore be used as a physiologically relevant in vitro model. Read more

PhD fellowship in Parasite-Microbiota Interactions at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Our group and research. The Parasites, Immunology and Gut Health (PIGH) group applies small (rodent, zebrafish) and large (swine) animal models and in vitro cell culture techniques to explore host-pathogen-microbiome interactions and nutritional immunology. Read more

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