A Unique PhD Opportunity in Cancer for Medical Students


The CRUK Convergence Science Centre at Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research bring together world leading expertise in the clinical, life, engineering, physical and natural sciences. The merging of these distinct fields has enormous potential to impact all areas of cancer from prevention to detection and improving treatments. This ambition will be realised partly through training the next generation of clinical academics who will become leaders in accelerating new methodologies and technologies that will benefit patients.

We are pleased to announce the MB-PhD Programme which is for outstanding undergraduate students on the MBBS/BSc degree course. The MB-PhD offers them the opportunity to include a PhD in cancer as part of their course. This consists of 3 years of research to be undertaken after the successful completion of the intercalated BSc (iBSc) Programme in year 4 of the MBBS degree. Students will re-enter undergraduate medical education at year 5 after the completion of the PhD training.

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4PhD Years
 MBBS  MBBS  MBBS  iBSc  PhD | PhD | PhD
A unique opportunity in Cancer for Medical Students
Year 5Year 6
Years 5 and 6 MB PhD

The PhD is fully funded by CRUK, funding includes a generous stipend (£21,000 per annum), tuition fees for UK and EU students and the cost for undertaking research. None UK/EU students are also eligible; however, they will be required to make up the difference in the cost of overseas tuition fees.


World-class training - students will be trained by world-leading experts in cancer biology, engineering and physical sciences at Imperial and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). This will enable them to acquire a broad skill set and learn the language of multiple disciplines.

Opportunities to publish - it is anticipated that their research projects will lead to publications and presentation of their work at relevant conferences.

Dedicated mentorship - students will receive tailored mentorship from reputable cancer clinicians who will provide guidance on successfully navigating the PhD years, becoming a clinical academic and establishing a successful career in medicine.

The recruitment process

Stage 1

Imperial and ICR academics are invited to submit research project ideas; the purpose of the submission is to showcase the research opportunities that are available for a PhD to prospective students. A list of project ideas can be found on the project ideas page (only accessible behind login for Imperial staff and students), or by contacting the CRUK Convergence Science Centre (icr-imperial-convergence.centre@imperial.ac.uk).

Stage 2

Students commencing their iBSc year are asked to review the project ideas and identify 3 projects that they would like to undertake if interested to do a PhD. After review, the top 3 preferences including your name and a short paragraph (200 words) outlining why you would like to do a PhD should be submitted to icr-imperial-convergence.centre@imperial.ac.uk for the attention of Dr Garrick Wilson by 28 October 2019. The project supervisors will be informed of your wish to undertake their projects and will arrange meetings with you to discuss the opportunity in person.

Stage 3 

After meeting with the supervisors, students will rank their preferred project in order of 1 to 3 and submit rankings to icr-imperial-convergence.centre@imperial.ac.uk by 6 November 2019. The supervisors of your top choice will be informed, and should they agree, you will work with them as a partner between January and April to develop a comprehensive PhD project proposal. The proposal will be reviewed by a panel of experts who will make a shortlist based on the scientific quality of the project and its suitability for a PhD, there are 4 MB-PhD studentships on offer. Finally, an interview will be arranged for shortlisted students, which will include the student and supervisory team to explore the quality, suitability and feasibility of the project for a PhD, the support provided by the supervisory team and the motivations of the student to undertake a PhD. If a student is unsuccessful in gaining their top choice of project, their second choice will also be made available to them.

Uncertain about scientific research

Flexibility underpins the MB-PhD Programme; not all students will immediately decide to undertake a PhD. Therefore, the opportunity also extends to students who may become enthusiastic about scientific research during their 15-week iBSc research project which starts in January 2020. At this stage, students could either submit a proposal with their iBSc project supervisor providing it is in an area of cancer research (this project could be an extension of the iBSc research) or ask to review a list of available projects. Students would then follow the ranking process as outlined in stage 3 and work with the supervisors to build a full PhD proposal for submission in April 2020.

Further questions

If you would like to know more about the MB-PhD Programme and meet potential project supervisors and former MB-PhD students we would like to invite you to a reception evening on 5 November 2019 at 16:30 – 18:30, the evening will include a presentation introducing the MB-PhD and the opportunity to informally meet potential supervisors and discuss their projects over drinks. To RSVP, please email your interest to icr-imperial-convergence.centre@imperial.ac.uk by 28 October 2019.