Below are some answers to frequently asked questions in regards to the MRC DTP Studentships award and application process.

Please note: this information relates to the central College MRC DTP studentship programme, and other types of MRC studentships (such as those offered by the MRC Centres) have a different recruitment process and may have different award details.


Application and selection

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How do I apply for the MRC DTP Studentships, and what should I include in my personal statement?

Please see the How to apply page for all necessary information about the application process.

What is the selection process?

The Imperial College MRC DTP programme is overseen by a College Leadership Team who will evaluate all applications in a longlisting exercise. Applications that progress to the next stage will be scored by a panel of academics from across College.

The scores and reviewers’ comments will be used to identify candidates that will be offered an interview.  Interviews will be conducted by theme panels that will provide comments and scores for each candidate. Following the interviews, the interview panels will meet with the Leadership Team to discuss and make selection recommendations accordingly.



Will you need my references at the time of my application?

Yes. As soon as you submit your application, a reference request will be automatically sent to your referees. The deadline for receipt of references is 1 December 2016. You should ensure that at least one reference is submitted by this deadline, in support of your application.

Your application should include the name and contact details of two academic referees.  If you are working, we will accept one academic referee and one work referee. Please also see the question above on ‘What is the selection process?', and ensure that you choose referees who will be able to return a reference for you without delay.

When will I know the outcome of my application?

All applicants, whether successful or not, will be informed via email by 28 February 2017 at the latest.

How do I know whether to apply for a 3.5 or 4.5 studentship?

If you do not already hold a master's degree then you must apply for the 4.5 year programme, which incorporates a master's programme in the first year.

If you already hold a master's degree in a subject relevant to your proposed research area then you should apply for the 3.5 year programme as you will not be eligible for the 4.5 year studentship.

If your master's degree is in an entirely different area to your proposed PhD research, and you are successful in obtaining a studentship, there will be an opportunity to discuss the 4.5 year programme option, but for now please apply for the 3.5 year programme. Please feel free to comment on this in your personal statement or the 'further information' section of the application form.

I would like to apply for a 4.5 year MRC studentship. Do I need to be accepted onto a Master's course before I submit an application?

No, applicants are not expected to apply for a specific master's programme until after the studentships have been awarded. If you know which master's programme you intend to apply for, you can mention this in the personal statement. Also, a clear idea of the future direction of your studies may be beneficial to your application. 

I would like to pursue a Master's course at Imperial even if my MRC studentship application is unsuccessful. Can I submit an application?

Yes, you are free to apply for a specific master's programme independently from the studentship. If you are awarded one of the studentships, the programme team will inform the Registry department so that your master's application can be updated with your studentship details.

Does the 4.5 year studentship involve direct progression from Master's to PhD?

Funding for a 4.5 year studentship includes a one year master's programme, a 3 year PhD, and a 6 month writing-up period.  Therefore, in that way there is a progression from one to the other. However, in the year before your PhD commences you must choose and seek approval for your choice of PhD supervisor. Guidance will be given to studentship recipients to assist them in this process.

Can I take on teaching/clinical work or other paid work during the studentship?

Students may undertake teaching, demonstrating and other paid work, provided that the total demand made on their time, including time spent in preparation, does not normally exceed six hours a week. Any work that a student undertakes must be formalised with a proper contract of employment covering the work the student is expected to do, and would need to conform to Home Office regulations regarding employment.


Eligibility

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Am I eligible to apply for the MRC DTP Studentships?

Please refer to the eligibility criteria. Please check carefully that you are eligible to apply before submitting an application.

I have lived in the UK for 3 years but this included time as a student. Am I still eligible for a full studentship?

Only if you are an EU student. Unfortunately non-EU students who have been in full-time education during their time in the UK will not be eligible. The MRC residence requirements state that for a full studentship, an applicant from outside the UK or EU must not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education.   

I have lived in the UK for 3 years but spent some of this time outside the UK. Am I still eligible for a full studentship?

If you have been ordinarily resident in the UK and the absence was temporary, you may still apply for the full studentship. The full residence eligibility is given again below and you must meet all these conditions to qualify:

  • Settled status in the UK, meaning you have no restrictions on how long you can stay. 
  • Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (this does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

I am an EU student but will not have been living in the UK for 3 years when starting the studentship - can I still apply?

You are still able to apply but you will only be eligible for a fees-only studentship. This means that your studentship will include the main programme fees, the conference fund and the Research Training Supplement Grant, but you will not be eligible for the monthly stipend.


Research themes

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What are the Imperial College research themes for this programme?

The project research areas for the MRC DTP Programme will fall within the themes listed below:

  • Informatics for Health
  • Experimental Medicine
  • Infection and Anti-Microbial Research

Is there a quota of awards, based on the themes?

No, we are not looking to recruit specific numbers to each research area. The programme aims to support up to 17 students per call, with studentships awarded to the best students, who, under advice from the Programme Director, then go on to choose projects in one of the research areas indicated on their application form.

Is my area of research interest included?

The research themes are broad and encompass an extensive and wide range of research areas. In applying, you should further define your research area of interest, by making good use of the three key phrases and personal statement that form part of the application (see How to apply). This will clarify the connection between the research theme and your research interests.

 

What should I include as my 'key phrases'?

Having chosen the research theme, please further define your area of interest by making use of the key phrases. Some examples are given below:

An interest in Cancer Epigenetics
Key phrases: Cancer, Epigenetics, ChIP-seq
Research area: Experimental Medicine or Informatics for Health

An interest in Cardiolovascular Science
Key phrases: Myocardial Disease, Gene Therapy, Dial Disease
Research area: Experimental Medicine

An interest in Infectious Disease
Key phrases: Malaria, Molecular, Vaccination
Research area: Infection or Anti-microbial Research

An interest in Child Health
Key phrases: Paediatrics, Neonatology, Epidemiology
Research area: Informatics for Health

What type of research are you funding under the programme?

Students on the MRC DTP scheme carry out research across many areas and much of this is cross-faculty based. In the last few rounds, successful students have gone on to PhD projects that include studies of:

  • Understanding the link between amino acids and vascular function in cardiovascular inflammation and sepsis
  • The regulation of HTLV-1 integration by a host co-factor
  • Genetic Mapping of Metabonomic Markers of CardioMetabolic Diseases
  • Metabolic Charactersiation of Neuroblastoma
  • A Study of Epstein Barr Virus Oncoproteins EBNA3A and EBNA3C In Vitro and In Vivo
  • Oral vaccine failure in low-income countries: influence of the intestinal microbiota
  • Engineering a novel diagnostic test for tuberculosis using nanoparticle-based detection of a whole blood gene expression signature
  • How respiratory infections affect the gut microbiome
  • Urban living and cardio-metabolic risk factors for noncommunicable diseases
  • Epidemiological inference for sparsely sampled epidemics from both genealogical and epidemiologic data
  • Gene therapy for alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • The role of Annexin-A1 in the control of amyloid beta clearance and in regulating blood brain barrier functionality in Alzheimer's disease
  • Refining estimates of dengue transmissibility and implications for control
  • Role of a conserved Plasmodium complex in the invasion of host cells
  • The Potential of the Pedunculopontine Nucleus for Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease
  • The development and application of novel crystallisation methodology to medically relevant proteins
  • The role of the lateral cerebellum in locomotion
  • Genomics and Epidemiology of Schistosoma mansoni
  • Life course epidemiology of diabetes

Supervisors and research projects

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Do I need to have a supervisor and research project confirmed before I apply for the MRC DTP studentship?

No, applicants are not expected to confirm their supervisor and research project until after the studentships have been awarded, but in general, a clear idea of the area you intend to pursue may be beneficial to your application.

However, if there is a very specific area which an applicant wishes to pursue they are strongly encouraged to get in touch with key research contacts in that area before making an application to ensure that there are research opportunities available which they wish to pursue.

Which research projects are available and who can I choose as a supervisor?

There is not a prescribed list of research projects associated with the MRC DTP, but there are the following restrictions:

  • Your supervisor and research project cannot be within the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, as this is an MRC unit within Imperial College London. The MRC CSC runs a separate MRC-supported PhD programme.
  • Your chosen supervisor must not be supervising any other MRC DTP Studentship recipients. 
  • Your choice of supervisor must be approved by the Imperial MRC DTP Leadership Team before you can commence your PhD.
  • Recipients of the studentships will be given guidance in the process of choosing a supervisor or master’s programme.

 


Financial support package

Financial support package

What does the fully-funded financial package include?

This information relates to a fully-funded studentship.  For a breakdown of the fees-only studentship, please see the question below.

To be eligible for a fully-funded MRC DTP studentship, candidates must be able to demonstrate a settled status in the United Kingdom. Please see the Eligibility Criteria page for more information.

A fully funded studentships covers: 

  • Payment of tuition fees 
  • A maintenance award of £16,296 (master’s if relevant) or £18,000 (PhD) per annum for the period of 4.5 years or 3.5 years respectively. 
  • A research training support grant (RTSG) of £5,000 per annum, paid to the supervisor for supporting the student’s training and research (not applicable for master's year).
  • A conference fund of £300 per annum to facilitate registration and attendance at conferences and scientific meetings (not applicable for master's year). 
  • Supplement funds to support a wide range of research and training activities including internships, high cost training and outreach.

What does the fees-only financial package include?

This information relates to a fees-only studentship.  For a breakdown of the fully-funded studentship, please see the above question.

To be eligible for a fully-funded MRC DTP studentship, candidates must be able to demonstrate a settled status in the United Kingdom. Please see the Eligibility Criteria page for more information.

A fees-only studentships covers: 

  • Payment of tuition fees 
  • A research training support grant (RTSG) of £5,000 per annum, paid to the supervisor for supporting the student’s training and research (not applicable for master's year).
  • A conference fund of £300 per annum to facilitate registration and attendance at conferences and scientific meetings (not applicable for master's year). 
  • Supplement funds to support a wide range of research and training activities including internships, high cost training and outreach.