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Cancer Research UK Clinical Academic Training Programme in Birmingham - Clinical PhD Studentships (x2)

University of Birmingham - College of Medical and Dental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: See advert text
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th January 2021
Closes: 12th March 2021

The Cancer Research UK Clinical Academic Training Programme in Birmingham provides an outstanding opportunity for early career training in a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment. Applications are invited for two Clinical PhD studentships (Clinical Research Training Fellowships, CRTFs) aligned with the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre. These three-year fellowships provide full funding for PhD tuition fees, laboratory consumables (~£13k per year) and salary. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact researchers within the Centre to develop their application and a project proposal ASAP. 

The Cancer Research UK Birmingham 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 and capitalises on a single biomedical campus comprising the University of Birmingham and key clinical partners including University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. 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 Cancer Research UK’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 Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), the Centre forms part of a vibrant pathway for genuine bench-to-business-bedside cancer research. In addition, delivery of high quality research outputs from these studentships including high impact publications, novel therapeutic strategies and clinical trial concepts is strategically critical for the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre.

Through the programme, four prestigious PhD training fellowships are awarded each year, two of which are 3-year CRTFs. The programme will be led by Professor Gary Middleton. 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 Cancer Immunology, Cancer Genomics and the Tumour Microenvironment:

  • Our Cancer Immunology theme 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 Cancer 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 Tumour Microenvironment theme engages groups from the Institute of Metabolism and Systems research, with the ultimate goal of harnessing the tumour microenvironment to improve our understanding of prognosis, response to treatment, and catalyse development of novel therapeutic approaches or treatment combinations.

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 Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre and the Cancer Research UK Clinical Academic Training programme has to offer, they will be willing to work in partnership with 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 area of cancer. 

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

Person Specification: This clinical PhD opportunity is only appropriate to applicants with a medical degree that are currently undertaking clinical training and are expected to return to clinical training in the UK following completion of the PhD. Additionally, applicants should have some experience of working in a laboratory. Applicants should also have a strong commitment to research, excellent interpersonal skills, and a willingness to take part in public engagement activities.

How to apply: The deadline for applications is 12th March 2021. Applications should be directed to Claire Fenlon, To apply, the fellowship applicant should send:

  • A detailed CV;
  • Names and addresses of two referees, ideally who have supervised laboratory research, but excluding proposed supervisors for the project;
  • A personal statement highlighting research experience/capabilities and reason for applying for a Clinical Academic Training Fellowship at the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre;
  • Copies of degree certificates with transcripts;
  • Evidence of proficiency in the English language, if applicable;
  • A completed project proposal which must have been developed with the proposed supervisory team (form and guidance available from Claire Fenlon,
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