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UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme

UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme across 4 strategic themes

The UCL-Birkbeck MRC Doctoral Training Programme provides state-of-the-art PhD training across four strategic themes.

Fundamental mechanisms of disease

Understanding the fundamental mechanisms of disease can have a huge translational impact and we are internationally recognised in this area. This theme spans a broad range of research areas, including; molecular biology, developmental biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine, immunology, genetics, pharmacology, structural biology and biophysics.

Experimental and personalised medicine

Experimental and personalised medicine drives the translation of discoveries from basic science and clinical medicine into benefits for human health, using an individual's genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a disease. Research in this theme encompass research into the understanding the mechanisms of pathophysiology or cause of disease, identification of new drug targets, development of new models of disease, and developing new biomarkers of disease progression and treatment.

Neuroscience and mental health

UCL is one of the world-leading institutions for neuroscience research, and together with Birkbeck this theme provides research training in a range of neurosciences areas, including; developmental, molecular, cellular & systems neuroscience, sensory systems, neurodegeneration, mental health, and neuroimaging.

Populations, people and data across the life course

Research in this theme spans a broad range of topics, including: understanding the factors that determine health and disease in populations; measuring the burden of disease in populations; developing testing and measuring the impact of interventions and service improvement; and approaches to reducing inequalities in health status.

At the end of their first year students will select a primary and secondary PhD supervisor and write a short project proposal on which they will be assessed

20 4-year studentships will be available across these themes to start September 2018. Studentships include tuition fees and an annual maintenance stipend of no less than £16,777.

The programme comprises 1 year of rotations (3 in total), followed by a 3 year PhD project.

In addition to undertaking their research students will engage in a range of additional training activities including:

  • Enterprise/entrepreneurship (through the UCL Institute for Biomedical Engineering and UCL Advances)
  • Public engagement and knowledge transfer
  • Experimental medicine (through our Clinical Research Facilities)
  • Specific skills training will focus on MRC strategic priorities and particularly quantitative and in vivo skills

Applicants must hold undergraduate or Masters degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) and meet the residence eligibility requirement as detailed on the MRC website.

To be eligible for full studentship funding applicants must either be UK nationals, or EU nationals who have been living in the UK for 3-years prior to the start of the course. EU nationals that do not meet this criteria are eligible for 'Fees-only' funding but will not receive a stipend and must be able to cover their living costs for the duration of the course.

International students are not eligible for funding however, we welcome applications from overseas candidates who are either self-funding or in receipt of an alternative funding source.

All applicants must complete the two part application form and organise references to be submitted from 2 referees.

Due to the cohort structure of our programme we only accept students to start in September each year, please do not choose other start dates on your application, otherwise it may not be reviewed by the programme.

Application form and instructions can be found at

The DTP will also be offering 4 CASE studentships to start September 2019. The projects to be offered for these studentships will be released on the DTP website (link above) on 21st December 2018.

CLOSING DATE: 5pm, Monday 7th January 2019

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