Mobile menu icon
Mobile menu icon Search iconSearch
Search type
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.
 

Programme

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

The MRC DTP studentships provide full funding for tuition fees and a stipend at the Research Councils UK (UKRI) rate for four 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 six-month programme 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 postgraduate researchers say

Read blog posts from our postgraduate researchers 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 postgraduate researcher

Projects

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

Our MRC DTP projects focus on three overarching themes, and each project must cover at least two of these:

  • Discovery of Disease Mechanisms
  • Detection and Diagnosis
  • Developing Interventions

The training provided in our project reflects the MRC's skills priorities. All of our projects are required to include interdisciplinary training, generally through the composition of the supervisory team.

In addition, each project must include training in Quantitative Skills, and/or Whole Organ(ism) Physiology.

The MRC intake for 2022 offers three application pathways to choose from, as outlined below. All our MRC postgraduate researchers form one unified cohort, irrespective of the pathway through which their project was developed.

 

Supervisor-led DTP project

Via this traditional pathway for our DTP, the supervisory team develops a suitable project.

You should contact the lead supervisor directly to discuss the project(s). It is your responsibility to arrange meetings with supervisors. Invitations to our interview days are dictated by supervisor nominations. This means that you are unlikely to be nominated by a supervisor unless you have made contact with them, in addition to submitting an online application.

As part of the selection process, you will be requested to submit a piece of written work directly to the Project Supervisor, who will advise of the exact requirements.

Supervisor-led CASE project

A suitable project is developed as a collaboration between an academic supervisor and an industrial partner, who offer enhanced training via placement and additional support.

You should contact the lead supervisor directly to discuss the project(s). It is your responsibility to arrange meetings with supervisors. Invitations to our interview days are dictated by supervisor nominations. This means that you are unlikely to be nominated by a supervisor unless you have made contact with them, in addition to submitting an online application.

As part of the selection process, you will be requested to submit a piece of written work directly to the Project Supervisor, who will advise of the exact requirements.

Student-led project

You can select from a pool of supervisors who are willing to help formulate a project in their research area, with a focus on your individual interests.

You should contact the supervisors directly to develop a suitable project proposal together. This project will not be advertised, and you will be nominated by the supervisor to be shortlisted for an interview. You must submit an online admissions application form by the deadline.

Supervisors 

Please carefully consider the pathway you want to follow, as Project Supervisors can only submit one nomination. 

Applications for September 2022 entry are now open.

Student in the clinical skills suite.
 

Training

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 postgraduate researchers 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 postgraduate researcher

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.

Application process

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

Key dates

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

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please ensure your application is complete and includes all required documentation.

  • Application deadline: 12 November 2021
  • Interviews: week commencing 10 January 2022
Students in PBL session
 

Postgraduate researcher 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 postgraduate researchers form a cohort of trainees, encouraging peer support, e.g. final year postgraduate researchers act as peer mentors for each year's new intake. The DTP also has a postgraduate researcher committee that represents the cohort and helps develop training for MRC postgraduate researchers, 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 postgraduate researchers, offering both academic and social events to further support interaction and a sense of community.

 

Careers

Our postgraduate researchers 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 postgraduate researchers.

 

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.

 

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 summer placements can be directed to Iqra Habib (iqra.habib@manchester.ac.uk).

For queries about applications, please contact the Doctoral Academy (admissions.doctoralacademy@manchester.ac.uk).