Additional MRC Studentships for October 2017

The MRC has awarded the GW4 BioMed DTP  additional  studentships for an October 2017 start.

We have 40 projects available from which to choose  across the themes of Infection, Immunity and Repair, Neuroscience and Mental Health and Population Health.

One of the eight available PhD studentships will be co-located with the Centre for Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomics in Cardiff, one in the newly formed Centre for Dementia Research in Cardiff and one in the Integrative Epidemiology Unit in Bristol. The remaining five studentships will be based at the institution of the Lead Supervisor at either Bath, Bristol, Cardiff or Exeter, with co-supervision at one of the other GW4 institutions. All studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years.

Due to the need to have students in place by October 2017, deadlines for application are short. Applications open on 11 May and close on 8th June at 0930.

Applications will be via an online form  and applicants will also be responsible for forwarding an academic transcript and two references to the DTP should they be shortlisted for interview.

Interviews will take place on Friday 30 June.

How to Apply

You will need to complete both an application to the GW4 BioMed MRC DTP for an ‘offer of funding’ and to the lead university for an ‘offer to study’. Each institution has different procedures on when to apply for the offer to study – some require this application at the same time as the initial application for an offer of funding, whilst others need this only if you are successful in gaining an offer of funding – see below for further details.

Applying for an ‘offer of funding’

Applicants will apply via the centralised online application form, between 11th May and 9.30am 8th June 2017.

Students can apply for up to 3 projects.

The DTP application process aims to select the best applicants and will make an ‘offer of funding’ to the top students after interview by the GW4 BioMed Theme Panels.

The host institution (i.e. that of the Lead supervisor of the project to which you were selected) will be responsible for checking eligibility and making an ‘offer to study’ (see below).

The Selection Process:

Students  undergo a two-part selection process, the first stage of which is a screening process by the supervisory team.  Students are required to meet (in person or remotely) with all their potential lead supervisors, between 9th and 16th June. Please note that expenses will not be available for candidates to attend these first round interviews.

Applicants are assessed against the criteria below. The final selection will be based on the qualities and performance of the student and will be competitive between all students according to the criteria listed below.

  • Proven academic quality: normally evidenced by an excellent performance to first degree and/or Master’s level but may also be demonstrated by a record of relevant professional practice.
  • Research potential: evidenced through their supporting statement and supported by performance in research projects at first degree and/or Master’s level, or another form of dedicated preparation for research.
  • Personal motivation and commitment: evidenced through their supporting statement, by their enthusiasm for the project area and how they see it relating to their career goals.
  • Non-biomedical disciplines: In line with supporting interdisciplinary and quantitative skills, special consideration will be given by the interview panels to non-biomedical applicants, therefore supervisors are encouraged to consider for nomination those candidates who may be disadvantaged by the selection criteria, which may be biased towards biomedical applicants

First and reserve choice candidates for individual projects will be informed they have been shortlisted for interview on 26th June and will be required to provide their academic transcripts and two references to the DTP by 29th June.

Interview candidates will  be interviewed by a centralised DTP  interview panel with representation from all HEIs. Interviews will be 30 minutes in length and include discussion of a piece of research data they were involved with; presented on a single side of A4. Interview performance is assessed by:

  • Critical thinking (discussion of a student selected piece of data)
  • Fit with project (why did they chose the project and their understanding of the key issues in the project)
  • Personal commitment/motivation

Interviews will take place on 30th June. Travel expenses up to a maximum of £100 will be refunded.

In the event that the same student is chosen as the first choice candidate for more than one project, the student will be invited to choose which project for which they wish to be interviewed and the reserve choice candidate will replace them for the remaining project(s). In the event that a first choice candidate withdraws before the interview process, the reserve choice candidate will be invited to attend in their place.

Applying for an ‘offer to study’

Cardiff and Bath Universities will expect you to also submit an application to the lead university for an ‘offer to study’ at the time of your application for a studentship with GW4BioMed DTP (an application for an offer of funding ), while Bristol and Exeter require this  only if you are successful in gaining the offer of funding. Please see the information below to find out more.

Bath University:

To apply to study in Bath, please complete the University of Bath PhD online application form as well as the GW4 BioMed MRC DTP studentship application form.

You should select the Bath application form specific to the PhD project of your choice (e.g. PhD in Biology, PhD in Biochemistry, PhD in Chemistry, PhD in Pharmacy & Pharmacology or PhD in Psychology).

Information on how to apply to Bath may be found here:

Bristol University:

Applicants to projects based at Bristol University  should first apply to the DTP, and once they have an offer of funding from the DTP  they should apply to the relevant Faculty and Programme at Bristol, stating in the funding section of the application form that they have been awarded a GW4 BioMed MRC studentship. 

Information on how to apply will be included in the offer letter to successful students.

Cardiff University:

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University Online Application Service.

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Biosciences/Medicine/Psychology), with a start date of October 2017.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship / grant” and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from GW4 BioMed MRC DTP.

If are applying for more than one Cardiff University project please note this in the research proposal section.

If you have any difficulties with this application please email / /

Exeter University:

Students should first apply to the DTP, and then if they are successful in gaining a place, they will then apply to study at Exeter. Information on how to apply should be included in the offer letter for our students.


Studentships are funded through the GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Projects are fully funded for 3.5 years (or up to 7 years part-time). and consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£14,553. for 2017/18, updated each year).

Additional funding, dependent on the project, is available over the course of the programme (dependent of the research requirements). This covers costs such as research consumables, training, conferences and travel.

Data Protection

If you are applying for a place on a collaborative programme of doctoral training provided by Cardiff University and other universities, research organisations and/or partners please be aware that your personal data will be used and disclosed for the purposes set out below.

Your personal data will always be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Cardiff University (“University”) will remain a data controller for the personal data it holds, and other universities, research organisations and/or partners (“HEIs”) may also become data controllers for the relevant personal data they receive as a result of their participation in the collaborative programme of doctoral training (“Programme”).

Application Process

During the application process, the University may need to share some of your personal data with third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates. These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

  • the selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant Programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;
  • administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant Programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data may need to be shared in certain circumstances, but only where strictly necessary. By applying for a place you hereby consent to your data being processed and shared in this way.

If you become a student on one of the Programmes

If your application is successful and you register on a Programme, the University may need to make further disclosures of your personal data throughout your time on the programme to ensure the effective management of your studies and comply with its obligations to funders. These disclosures may include, but are not limited to disclosures:

  • within the group of HEIs to the Programme;
  • to other collaborative parties to the relevant Programme, e.g. industrial sponsors and/or collaborators, supervisors from other HEIs, Research Councils (as funders of the Programme);
  • to external examiners.

Other disclosures may be made where it is necessary for the administration of your studies.

Accessing your personal data

If you wish to have access to any of your personal data as held by the University, please contact There may be a fee of £10 associated with such requests.


If you have any queries or concerns about the use of your personal data during the application process or your time as a student, please contact PGR Quality and Operations (Registry) by emailing



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