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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.

20  4-year studentships will be available across these themes to start September 2021. 

Studentships include tuition fees at the Home rate and an annual maintenance stipend of no less than £17,285. 

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
  • Public engagement and knowledge transfer
  • Research integrity and culture
  • 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 Master’s degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) and meet the eligibility requirement as detailed on the MRC website.

UKRI have confirmed that both UK students and international students (EU and non-EU) will be eligible for all Research Council-funded postgraduate studentships from the start of the 2021/22 academic year. Please also refer to further guidance from UKRI on changes to EU and International Eligibility for UKRI funded studentships.

All UKRI-funded PhD students (UK, EU and non-EU) will be eligible for the full award, including the stipend to support living costs, and fees at research organisations UK rate; however, UKRI funding will not cover international fees set by universities. In compliance with UKRI guidelines, a limited number of studentships (up to 6) will be offered to international students, subject to eligibility, and additional complementary funding. Please see the UCL Scholarship Finder for other funding opportunities. Each scholarship has different eligibility criteria, so please check carefully before applying.

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 2021.  The projects to be offered for these studentships will be released on the DTP website (link above) and advertised separately.

CLOSING DATE: 5pm, Friday, 22nd January 2021

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,285
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 27th November 2020
Closes: 22nd January 2021
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