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Student in a lab looking down a microscope

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 (UKRI) rate for 3.5 years. 

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant subject. A master's qualification in a related area would be beneficial.

For full details on eligibility, 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.

What our students say

Read blog posts from our students to find out what they think about the programme.

"I feel attached to and stimulated by my subject area and the research I am able to produce. I've also particularly enjoyed the science communication and public engagement aspect of my work."

Nadine Mirza / 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 Science and Engineering.

Our MRC DTP projects focus on three overarching themes:

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

Our studentships map onto the objectives outlined in the MRC industrial CASE (iCASE) strategic plan and focus on:

  • precision medicine;
  • harnessing health data;
  • materials and medicine.

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

Applications for September 2021 entry are now open.

CASE studentships

CASE studentships are linked with an industrial partner and offer enhanced training specific to the project.

We have a number of CASE studentships available each year alongside the Manchester MRC DTP. You can find out more about these studentships on the MRC website.

Student in the clinical skills suite.


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. It 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.

"Manchester has been great for developing my professional skills – teaching, presentation and management - to be more rounded, and many of these transferable skills will likely put me in a strong position in future careers, whether that is in academia or beyond."

Jason Chu / MRC DTP student

Making an application

Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science, engineering or technology.

If you wish to be considered for an MRC DTP and/or MRC CASE 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

As the online application form has been unavailable, we have extended the deadline for applications as below.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline, as late applications will not be considered.

  • Application deadline: 23 April 2021
  • Interviews: week commencing 31 May 2021

Previous applicants need not apply.

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 2021 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 (