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PhD Studentship in Novel data science and mathematical approaches to computer-aided drug discovery

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 21, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2019 for 3.5 years.

Application closing date

21 February 2019.


A fully funded Ph.D. studentship is available at Newcastle University, focussing on the design and application of novel mathematical / computational approaches to advance anti-cancer drug discovery programmes.

This multi-disciplinary proposal aims to harness recent ideas coming from differential geometry, some of the mathematics behind superstring theory, to create a new tool for high-throughput computational drug design. Mathematicians and physicists have developed a range of techniques that allow them to efficiently encode the properties of shapes in high dimensions. This project will apply these mathematical techniques to describe the 3-dimensional shapes of potential drug molecules, it will use data science techniques (including machine learning and artificial intelligence) to search chemical databases for molecules with similar properties, and it will use computational drug design to validate the effectiveness of these molecules.

The student will work closely with the Drug Discovery Group at Newcastle University with the goal of establishing these computational methods as a standard tool in the drug discovery pipeline. The supervisory team will provide highly sought-after training in the fields of computational medicinal chemistry, software design, and data science. As such, this project is ideal for a candidate with a solid theory background, and ambitions towards a career in the pharmaceutical industry or academic drug discovery.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (

Name of supervisor(s):

Dr Daniel Cole ( (School of Natural and Environmental Sciences)

Dr Stuart Hall (School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics)

Dr Matthew Forshaw (School of Computing)

Eligibility Criteria:

The successful candidate will have a degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or a related subject. Good programming skills are desirable, but not essential.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria (, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account ( To do this please select ‘How to Apply’ and choose the ‘Apply now’ button.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to: The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:
•insert the programme code 8100F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in Chemistry (full time) – Chemistry’ as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code NES011 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code NES011 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For any questions about the post, please contact Daniel Cole.

Funding Notes

Full UK/EU fees (eligibility criteria applies to EU students) and annual living allowance of £14,777 (at the 2018/19 UKRI rate.)

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