CRUK Birmingham Centre Clinical PhD Studentship

University of Birmingham – Institute of Cancer and Genomics; Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy

Funding availability:

  • Up to £256,000 over 3 years, including fees, £13,000 laboratory expenses annually and salary

Research interests/description of main research theme:

Applications are invited for a Clinical PhD studentship at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Birmingham Centre. Capitalising on a single biomedical campus comprising the University of Birmingham and key clinical partners including University Hospitals Birmingham, the Centre builds on Birmingham’s integrated scientific and clinical research programmes and aligned clinical trials, which contribute to a cancer research portfolio of ~£25 million per year. The Centre establishes Birmingham as one of the UK’s premier sites for cancer research, and provides an opportunity to deliver internationally significant translational cancer science. Our mission is to catalyse translationally aligned fundamental discovery science in oncology, and novel therapeutic developments originating from this research, contributing to CRUK’s strategic target of increasing cancer survival rates from 50% to 75% within the next 10 years. Linked strategically with Birmingham’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and UoB’s CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), the Centre forms part of a vibrant pathway for genuine bench-to-bedside cancer research.

The Centre’s PhD programme provides an outstanding opportunity for early career training in this dynamic, multidisciplinary environment. In addition, delivery of high quality research outputs from these studentships (high impact publications, novel therapeutic strategies and clinical trial concepts) is viewed as strategically critical for the Centre. Three prestigious PhD training fellowships are awarded each year, one of which is a 3-year clinical studentship.  This fellowship provides full funding for student fees, laboratory consumables and salary.

The Centre’s scientific focus is on understanding oncogenesis and tumour immunobiology, providing the scientific basis for novel targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and stratification approaches. The three core themes of the Centre are Immunology, Genomics and Virology.

  • Our Immunology theme ( (website currently being updated) explores how anti‐tumour immunity is regulated, including the immunobiology of the tumour microenvironment, and how factors such as tumour genetics, oncogenic signalling and microbiota combine to influence it. Linking with these studies, we are characterising novel axes of cancer immunosuppression, identifying new molecular targets, and developing innovative immunotherapeutic strategies.
  • Our Genomics theme ( is defining how DNA damage and repair defects influence cancer predisposition, how epigenetic reprogramming drives tumourigenesis, and, aligning with clinical trials on epigenetic modifiers, highlights new therapeutic opportunities. Linking with our clinical infrastructure genomics studies can identify how mutational profiles/epigenetic signatures influence patient outcomes/treatment response, providing novel stratification approaches.
  • Our Virology theme ( explores how the major human oncogenic viruses drive and maintain tumorigenesis through expression of viral oncogenes, manipulation of the tumour microenvironment and manipulation of host cell genetics and epigenetics. Identification of dysregulated pathways using novel models of viral oncogenesis is being exploited to discover novel modes of therapeutic intervention.

Applicants must submit a CV, with a detailed project proposal and named supervisors. The deadline for applications is Monday 30th April. Those interested are therefore encouraged to contact staff within the Centre to develop their application and project proposal. Successful applicants will be have a strong academic track record and project proposal, experience in laboratory research, and will be highly motivated and ambitious.  They will have a collegiate mind set, and as well as benefitting from the diverse expertise, resources and opportunities the Centre studentship programme has to offer, they will be willing to work in partnership with Centre colleagues to promote and publicise the research of the Centre. As part of this, the studentship will provide opportunities for science engagement activities in the cancer area.

Join the CRUK Birmingham Centre as a PhD fellow and help to make it one of the UK’s most successful sites for translationally oriented cancer research.

Person Specification

Applicants should have a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject, be medically qualified and some experience of working in a laboratory. They should have a strong commitment to research, strong interpersonal skills, and a willingness to take part in public engagement activities. Additionally, non-EU applicants must provide evidence that they can self-fund.

How to apply

Informal enquiries and applications should be directed to Claire Fenlon (

To apply, please send:

  • A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
  • A completed project application form (available from ;
  • Names and addresses of two referees, ideally who have supervised your laboratory research, but excluding proposed supervisors for the project;
  • A personal statement highlighting your research experience/capabilities and your reason for applying for a PhD studentship at the CRUK Birmingham Centre;
  • Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
  • Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Contact for enquiries