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  EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) scholarship - Can MIND networks derived from brain MRI shed fresh light on perinatal development?

   Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

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  Dr Sarah Morgan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Brain connectivity is central to neurodevelopment and later cognition and mental health (Morgan et al., BP:CNNI 2018). We recently proposed a new method to construct structural brain networks from MRI data, called Morphometric Inverse Divergence (MIND). MIND networks were more sensitive to age-related changes than other popular approaches for mapping structural connectomes, suggesting MIND may be especially well suited to capturing brain development (Sebenius et al., Nature Neuroscience 2023).

This project aims to further develop and apply MIND to study perinatal development. To that end, we will:

1)     Construct and validate MIND networks from perinatal brain images, using data from the developing Human Connectome Project.

2)     Further develop MIND to learn the optimal weighting of different input morphometric features for specific downstream tasks, such as predicting developmental outcomes, using a machine learning framework.

3)     Assess whether our extended MIND method can predict different developmental outcomes from neonatal brain scans.

Informal email enquiries from interested students to the supervisor are encouraged (contact details below). 

Dr Sarah Morgan: [Email Address Removed]


Prospective candidates should have a 1st or 2:1 M-level qualification in Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Psychology, or a related programme. Please note this is not an exhaustive list and we welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds.

Preference will be given to candidates with a background conducive to multidisciplinary research and preferably programming skills.

We welcome eligible applicants from any personal background, who are pleased to join diverse and friendly research groups.

Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements for Home Fee status will be eligible to apply for this project. Home students will be eligible for a full UKRI award, including fees and stipend, if they satisfy the UKRI criteria below, including residency requirements. To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria: 

· be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or 

· have settled status, or 

· have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or 

· have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

Limited funding is available to support Overseas tuition fees and so applicants with Overseas fee status are also eligible to apply.

Applicable level of study: Postgraduate research 

Award Value

Each studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years. This includes tuition fees, stipend and generous project consumables.

Stipend: Students will receive a tax-free stipend at the UKRI rate of £21,237 (AY 2024/25) per year as a living allowance.

Research Training Support Grant (RTSG): A generous project allowance will be provided for research consumables and for attending UK and international conferences.


Please visit the studentship website for more information on application instructions.

Biological Sciences (4) Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Physics (29) Psychology (31)
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 About the Project