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White blood cells flowing through red blood as a microbiology symbol of the human immune system.

Kennedy Trust IMPACT Inflammation MB-PhD

Combining the vocational training of a medical degree with the research expertise of a PhD.


The Kennedy Trust IMPACT Inflammation MB-PhD is a fully funded three-year programme aimed at MBChB students who wish to intercalate to train as clinician-scientists.

This training route will see you work towards both your MBChB and PhD awards over the course of the programme, combining your medical training with research training in the area of inflammation sciences.

Each year, we aim to recruit the best candidates who are seeking to drive new innovations in clinical care and research. Our first cohort of students started their studies in September 2021.


What is a PhD?

A PhD is one of the highest level academic degrees that can be awarded. Unlike most undergraduate and master's courses, a PhD is a pure research degree.

However, this doesn't mean you will spend three years in a library or lab. There are many opportunities for professional development including networking and communication, teaching, presenting at conferences, and opportunities to publish work.

Why should I do a PhD during the MBChB?

You will get a head start on your academic career before you get too embedded in clinical work. The skills you will acquire can be applied in many areas of medicine, and you will learn valuable critical appraisal skills early.

There is a much higher chance of being awarded an MB-PhD during medical school than if you wait to apply for PhD later in your career.

On completion of your MB-PhD, you will graduate as a doctor at the forefront of your field.

Why inflammation?

Inflammation is such a broad area that it can be applied in all aspects of medicine/surgery/GP. You will develop invaluable transferable skills and be fully equipped to start a career in clinical research.

Inflammation is linked to areas of medicine such as:

  • immunology
  • dermatology
  • gastroenterology
  • infection
  • cardiovascular disease
  • arthritis and rheumatic diseases
  • orthopaedics
  • respiratory disease.


You will benefit from a bespoke training and mentorship programme alongside your research project.

As a postgraduate researcher in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, you will also have access to the Doctoral Academy Training programme to develop your transferable skills.


Year 1

  • Programme induction
  • Upskilling in inflammation course
  • Computational biology course
  • Project specific training/development

Year 2

  • Training activities to support career development
  • Mentorship programme

Year 3

  • Training activities to support career development
  • Mentorship programme
  • Preparation for thesis submission/viva
  • Support for returning to the MBChB core programme
Researcher recording results on a clipboard.


The list of projects available for the September 2023 intake is below.

You can also access a summary of each project and the supervisory team through this booklet (PDF). Supervisors have prepared short videos to outline their projects, which you can find below.

We will hold an online event to outline the programme and enable you to ask questions and meet some of the supervisors. You can also contact potential supervisors directly to discuss their project and research.

It is important to note that students are also able to co-design a project with a supervisor if they have a specific area of inflammation research that they are interested in.

Available projects

  • Identification of novel biomarker profiles to define subgroups of Systemic Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases 
  • Investigating how early rheumatoid arthritis signatures associate with treatment response and clinical trajectories (watch video)
  • Identifying biomarkers of myositis treatment response using UK-wide longitudinal data to personalise patient management (watch video)
  • Discovery and clinical translation of small molecule biomarkers of inflammation in asthma
  • Using artificial intelligence to better understand multimorbidity and treatment outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (watch video)
  • Using cellular and zebrafish disease modelling to study the relationship between inflammasomes and cholesterol metabolism in haemorrhagic stroke (watch video)
  • Using genetics to predict disease outcomes, severity and treatment response in childhood inflammatory arthritis (watch video)
  • The impact of the lipidome on drug response in psoriatic arthritis (watch video)
  • Functional dissection of disease associated genetic loci in rheumatoid arthritis (watch video)
  • Characterisation of longitudinal peripheral immune cellular changes in post-stroke dementia (watch video)
  • The moderating effect of socioeconomic factors on the association between alcohol consumption, long-term inflammation and risk of rheumatoid arthritis (watch video)
  • Immunology of treatment response in autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis) (watch video)
  • Using functional genomics and genetic engineering (CRISPR) techniques to investigate the JAKi pathway in Psoriasis (watch video)

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Successful applicants will receive a PhD studentship for the three-year duration of the programme.

These studentships include:

  • full funding for PhD tuition fees (up to the UK rate)
  • lab costs/running expenses
  • a stipend of £19,000 per annum for living costs.

International candidates should contact us at to discuss a fee scholarship that is available to the highest-performing international applicant.

Completing the MB-PhD will not have an impact on student loan eligibility for the final year of the MB-ChB as both qualifications are awarded at the same time.

Researcher adjusting a microscope.

Eligibility criteria

Priority will be given to MBChB students at The University of Manchester and BSc (Hons) Medicine students at the University of St Andrews, although applications from eligible students from other medical schools may be considered.

University of Manchester MBChB students must be either:

  • currently studying in Year 3; or
  • currently studying in Year 2 and already holding a BA/BSc (Hons) degree classification of an Upper Second or above in a relevant subject; or
  • intercalating after either Year 2 or Year 3 of the MBChB.

University of St Andrews Medicine BSc (Hons) student on the Manchester course pathway must be:

  • currently studying on Year 3 of the Manchester MBChB, having already obtained a BSc classification of an Upper Second (2:1) or above from the University of St Andrews;
  • predicted to obtain a BSc classification of an Upper Second (2:1) or above from the University of St Andrews.

Exceptionally, we will accept applications from medical students on other UK courses.

External applicants must demonstrate equivalent academic eligibility and institutional support to the above, including evidence of opportunities for integration with their undergraduate course similar to those of internal applicants.


Making an application

Each year, we will support five MBChB undergraduate students onto the three-year programme, with the approval of your intercalation team.

We are looking for candidates who are seeking to drive new innovations in clinical care and research.

Applications open in October 2022 for September 2023.

You should apply as soon as possible.

If you wish to be considered for the Kennedy Trust IMPACT Inflammation MB-PhD programme and meet our eligibility criteria, you must complete an online application.

Follow the information below, and ensure you submit all the required documents. References can be emailed separately if they are not available to submit immediately (see below).

Application process

We take a maximum of 6 students per year onto the programme, which begins at the end of September. Check your eligibility before applying and contact us with any questions.

Please follow the information and step-by-step guide on our main How to Apply page. Specific details for this programme are noted below.

You must make one separate application for this programme - select MB-PhD Programme. If you select the incorrect programme your application will not be considered.

For the funding sources section on the online application form:

  • Select 'Yes' from the drop-down
  • Type of Funding: 'University of Manchester Scholarship'
  • Awarding Body: Kennedy Trust
  • Status of Funding – Awarded
  • Funding Covers – Fully Funded
  • Leave the remaining boxes blank

First Application deadline: 12 December 2022
Second Deadline for internal candidates: 26 May 2023

Other application information

Section 6 - Research details

For Section 6 – 'Research Details', you must state the name of the project supervisor and project title in the format below. You can indicate up to two projects here, listing the lead supervisor and project title in order of preference. 

  1. Name of Supervisor – Project Title
  2. Name of Supervisor – Project Title

Supporting documents

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents as listed below.


This should include qualifications (subjects passed at GCSE, A-level or equivalent, including grade). These will be considered in relation to widening participation and/or university access arrangements, to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly.

Include higher education qualifications already obtained or currently being taken, academic prizes, research projects and subjects of special interest (from current or previous studies), extracurricular interests, and activities and positions of responsibility relevant to your application.

Supporting statement

This should be 1,000 words maximum. It should include your reason for wishing to join the MB-PhD programme and a statement outlining your particular interest in the projects to which you are applying.


We require two references from people who have knowledge of your academic ability. These are usually academic references, from a lecturer or professor at your current or previous university.

You will need to provide details of your referees in section 10 of the online form. Your referees will be contacted directly after you submit your application and directed to complete our online reference form.

Email addresses

It is recommended that the email address you provide for your referees is related to the academic institution or organisation to which they belong, rather than a personal use email (for example,

If a personal email address is provided, it may cause delays to your application, as extra steps may be required to verify this.

External medical students

You will require an official letter of support from your current institution stating you have permission to undertake the MB-PhD programme at The University of Manchester.


Once you have submitted your application form, you will receive an acknowledgement that your application has been received. Your application will be reviewed and circulated to your preferred supervisor(s).


You will be kept informed of the progress of your application throughout the application procedure. We will contact you directly if we wish to invite you to interview.

Key dates

  • First Application deadline: 12 December 2022
  • Second Deadline for internal candidates: 26 May 2023
  • Interviews: week commencing 9 June 2023
  • Start date: September 2023

Contacting us

For queries regarding the application process or your eligibility, please contact

Students holding test tubes.

Student profiles

Elan Shellard – Newcastle University medical student

Elan Shellard

Supervisor: Professor Richard Warren

I applied to this course in my third year because it was one of only two courses I’d seen that focused on inflammation, an area highly applicable to many areas of medicine.

The course offers the opportunity to tailor your project to what you are most interested in, for me that was inflammatory skin conditions.

This led to a project centred around the genetics of psoriasis, the pathways and possible drug interventions.

Completing a PhD before finishing medical school is a huge advantage, lending itself to further involvement in research when re-joining the medicine course and being a more competitive applicant to the specialised foundation programme.

Through this course I will gain experience in many lab-based skills, including bioinformatics, genomics, and cell phenotyping, which I would have no exposure to otherwise. I will also gain experience in academic writing, hopefully leading to publishing and presenting my research at points throughout the course.

Compared to the generality of medicine, I am excited to do original research into the specific area that I find most interesting.

Jafar Cain – MB-PhD year 2 student

Jafar Cain

Supervisor: Dr Hannah Durrington

I was excited to apply to the Kennedy Trust MB-PhD program as a way to gain a lot of new experience in research, particularly in an area which I found interesting.

The vast range of available projects that fall under the programme’s wide umbrella of ‘inflammation sciences’ means that there really is something for everyone.

My project combined my interests in rheumatology and respiratory medicine in a PhD focused on the circadian mechanism and how it relates to the immunopathology of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

During my first year I was immersed in the lab very quickly and was able to run my first complex in-vivo experiment and build my confidence in planning and undertaking my own research projects. 

The PhD is a fantastic opportunity to grow as an independent researcher and take ownership of your own work from day one, something which feels incredibly rewarding and that I hope will allow me greater freedom in my career going forward.


Undergraduate summer placements

We offer research placements within the MB-PhD to University of Manchester and St Andrews-Manchester Pathway Medical School students in Year 1 and 2.

The placements will give you a taste of academic research and our MB-PhD programme. Placements last for up to one week. If you are eligible to apply, you must submit an expression of interest by 30 April 2023.


Contact us

Please get in touch if you have any questions about this programme.

Queries regarding the application process and funding can be sent to the Doctoral Academy Admissions Office:

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5608

Queries regarding the programme can be sent to:

Email: or

University of Manchester intercalation queries should be sent to:

General queries

Sue Astley

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