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MRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Undertake biomedical, clinical or health services PhD research to address key healthcare challenges


The Medical Research Council (MRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) offers studentships for postgraduate researchers undertaking PhDs in biomedical, clinical and health services areas.

Why undertake a MRC DTP PhD?

  • Carry out a funded PhD project addressing some of the key priorities of the MRC.
  • Learn how to fulfil unmet healthcare needs in the UK and globally.
  • Enhance employability through training in cross-cutting skills such as informatics, in vivo and computation.
  • Receive support in raising awareness of your research through external conferences, digital media and networking events.
  • Develop interdisciplinary research skills by learning from biological, computational, material, physical, chemical and social scientists.
  • Access a funding scheme at the end of your PhD to help you progress to the next stage of your research career.


We provide a framework of postgraduate research training that supports the development and career progression of all our MRC-funded PhD students over 3.5 years.

The MRC DTP studentships provide full funding for tuition fees and a stipend at the Research Councils UK (RCUK) rate for 3.5 years. 

To apply for these studentships, you should be from the UK/EU and must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper class UK honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject area. For full details on eligibility and residence criteria, see the How to apply page.

Pathways to Impact

You could also benefit from our Pathways to Impact funding scheme at the end of your PhD. This will provide you with additional support in moving into the next phase of your career, such as NHS/industrial internships, policy placements or structured lab rotations depending on your individual career ambitions.

"I really enjoyed working in a lab research environment both in an industry and university setting. What drew me to a PhD was being able to conduct a study that I would have ownership of. I wanted to be able to see a research project through and be able to make those decisions on where the research was headed. This is both really fun and really scary!"

Kirsty McIntyre / MRC DTP student


We offer PhD opportunities across a range of biomedical, clinical and health services areas. Projects span the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Our projects focus on three overarching themes:

  • early detection/diagnosis;
  • understanding mechanisms of disease;
  • therapeutic interventions.

We have existing studies in areas as diverse as neuroimmunity, circadian regulation and the effects of exercise on early psychosis.

Applications for September 2020 entry are now open.


Students in pbl session


Training within each of our research themes embeds cross-cutting skills alongside those central to your research. This includes hands-on in vivo skills training in areas such as surgical and pre-clinical skills, complex experiments, novel imaging technologies and other innovative techniques.

You will also develop interdisciplinary skills in chemical or physical engineering and social, economic and clinical areas. For example imaging, health economics, antimicrobial resistance, and translational medicine. Your training will be led by various interdisciplinary supervisory teams often comprising different research groups and settings.

In addition, you will develop your quantitative skills including mathematics, statistics, computation, and developing digital excellence as applied to a variety of data sources, from 'omics to health records.

Alongside your PhD training, you will also receive bespoke training specifically designed for the MRC DTP. This training will expose you to different career options after your PhD and will explore public and patient engagement and involvement, business engagement, policy, and leadership.

Our Faculty graduate training programme will see you learn alongside other PhD students at Manchester and benefit from career-focused seminars in areas such as presentational skills, publications, public engagement and getting the most from research conferences.

You will also have the opportunity to attend specific training events tailored to areas of greatest importance to aspiring biomedical and health services researchers. You will be able to influence our training provision by telling us about the seminars and workshops that would be most helpful.

"My PhD has been tremendously enjoyable. Challenging at times (if it was easy everyone would do it!) but overall hugely rewarding, I cannot imagine a better way to spend the last few years of my life. Show me a better way to learn new things, develop skills, meet like-minded people and put yourself on the world stage and I’ll buy you a pint!"

Mike Daniels / MRC DTP student

Making an application

Applicants should be from the UK/EU and have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject area.

If you wish to be considered for an MRC DTP studentship and meet our eligibility criteria, you must complete a single online application.

Full details on eligibility and residence criteria are available on the How to apply page.

Please follow our instructions on how to apply for an MRC DTP programme.

Key dates

Applications for September 2020 entry are now open.

Students in pbl session

Student support

You will be able to access outstanding facilities, technical and experimental support and fellow early career researchers throughout the programme.

This is invaluable throughout a PhD when it is not uncommon to occasionally wonder if you are on the right track or addressing your research question in the most appropriate way.

Our Doctoral Academy represents early career researchers and will further support your development. Opportunities to share research ideas and advice are available on a national level as well as within Manchester.

You and your fellow DTP students form a cohort of trainees, encouraging peer support, e.g. final year students act as peer mentors for each year's new intake. The DTP also has a student committee that represents the cohort and helps develop training for MRC students, as well as organising events such as the MRC seminar series, conference and residential.

We also have a graduate society you can join, which is led by students, offering both academic and social events to further support interaction and a sense of community.



Our students progress beyond their PhDs into a variety of positions and areas.

Typical destinations include:

  • academic fellowships (MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR);
  • clinical training;
  • industrial research;
  • health services consultancy and policy;
  • medical writing;
  • teaching.

Workplace experience

You can benefit from additional opportunities to gain experience in many of these areas. Some of our DTP projects involve placements in industrial settings during the PhD, while the MRC operates a successful Policy Internship Placement with the Academy of Medical Sciences, which is open to DTP students.


Undergraduate summer placements

We offer research placements within the MRC DTP to undergraduate students from across the UK.

The placements are an excellent way to experience research activity and determine your suitability and aptitude for further research.

The placements are funded and last for up to 10 weeks.

Information on our 2020 programme will be updated in due course.


Contact us

Further details on MRC DTP studentship funding, eligibility and opportunities can be found on the MRC website.

Any questions relating to the Manchester MRC DTP can be directed to Abbie Roberts (

For queries about applications, please contact the Doctoral Academy (