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PhD in Molecular, Genetic & Lifecourse Epidemiology 4 year programme

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD Programme in Molecular, Genetic and Lifecourse Epidemiology (MGLE)

Our ability to fully exploit new molecular and genetic technologies in epidemiology depends on a new generation of inter-disciplinary scientists who can harness the benefits of these technologies in exciting and productive ways. Our innovative four-year PhD programme offers you the opportunity to develop the knowledge and technical skills to become future research leaders in this field

The Programme

The MGLE 4-year PhD programme has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and is based in Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol. Our programme aims to equip graduates from a wide range of disciplines with the technical skills and training to exploit new technologies and data in ways that could significantly improve our understanding of causal pathways in disease and its progression.


Our researchers apply molecular, genetic and lifecourse data and analytical methods within population based cohorts such as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children ( and UK Biobank ( Our community of researchers come from many different scientific backgrounds, and we strongly encourage applications from a wide range of disciplines (e.g. natural sciences, biostatistics, molecular genetics, econometrics, biochemistry, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computer science). Our PhD programme and training environment will provide non-epidemiologists with the necessary training to apply their skills in this field.

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD Programme in Molecular, Genetic and Lifecourse Epidemiology (MGLE)

Programme structure

PhD studentships are (in principle) funded for 4 years and have two components:

  1. Our foundation year combines specific and generic skills training with practical experience gained from undertaking three 'mini-projects'. Each mini-project consists of a 10 week period during which you work on a project in one of the programmes research areas (eg epidemiology, genetics, epigenetics, bioinformatics/data science or molecular laboratory research).

    The mini-projects are integrated with a choice of 1-5 day Short Courses which you will select on the basis of experience and training needs. You will also have the opportunity to attend external specialist courses and international meetings.

  2. Years 2-4 are spent undertaking your main PhD research project. You will be encouraged to continue attending courses and conferences throughout your studentship, with a focus on presenting your results at international conferences towards the end of your project.

The University

All of your studies will be at the University of Bristol, a leading UK research university. The university is near the centre of Bristol, a vibrant and leading UK city.

The MGLE twitter page and our University Instagram page showcases Bristol activities and our city.

Bristol Medical School offers an integrated approach to postgraduate education in a collaborative and multidisciplinary environment. The PhD programme is based within the Population Health Sciences Department and complements parallel PhD programmes at the University, including (amongst others) those in: Dynamic Cell Biology, Integrative Cardiovascular Science, Neural Dynamics and Complex Networks.

"The mini projects in my first year enabled me to develop a multidisciplinary skills set, which will prove helpful for my PhD project."

Caroline Bull

"After I complete my PhD I’m looking to pursue a career in academia – hopefully examining whether genetic and biological markers can improve our understanding of various disorders."

Andrew Crawford

"It's a friendly and supportive department, a great strength being the variety of academics who work here"

Anna Guyatt

"The opportunity to spend a year exploring aspects of research I may not otherwise have been exposed to really appealed to me."

Hannah Sallis

How to Apply

Applications are invited from 12th October 2018 for 3 studentships starting in October 2019. Applications are completed online at Before applying please email [email protected] for further details about the studentship, potential topics, supervisors, and what information we will require from you.

You are encouraged to contact potential supervisors to discuss potential research projects, as this will strengthen your application. Some example projects are listed on the programme website, but you are welcome to contact potential supervisors with your own project ideas if they are relevant to the programme. Supervisors may be identified from the listing of potential programme supervisors on the programme website.

The Wellcome Trust provides support for four years and includes a stipend of £19,919-£23,997, PhD registration fees at UK/EU student rate, research expenses totalling £40,000 over 4 years, travel and transferable-skills training. International students can also apply, although only one studentship per year is open to non-EU applicants. For further details about the Wellcome Trust studentships, potential topics and supervisors please email [email protected].

When applying please choose `Faculty of Health Sciences and PhD in Population Health Science`.

Closing date: 9am, 1st December 2018 for 3 studentships to start in October 2019

Interviews will be held on 14th December 2018 and 11th January 2019. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to identify up to three potential PhD projects in order of preference, and will be asked to present their preferred project for 5 minutes at interview outlining background, objectives, methods and training plan.

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