Wellcome PhD programme

Key features


Our Wellcome Trust clinical programme is typically three years in duration and provides:

  • a clinical salary
  • PhD registration fees at the UK/EU rate
  • Research expenses
Imperial College 4i Launch Advert [download pdf]

Please note recruitment for places on the 2017 4i scheme is now closed


Imperial is delighted to have been awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD programme, making us one of only seven schemes to have successfully obtained funding. 

Starting in 2017 and running for five years, the Imperial Immunity, Inflammation, Infection and Informatics (4i) Clinician Scientist Programme focuses on the academic strengths of the College that are relevant to major health problems. The programme is designed to attract and cultivate the most promising clinical academic researchers and will enable us to build an innovative, interdisciplinary cohort of clinician scientists equipped with the expertise to address key global health challenges.

Our scheme enables early career success by placing talented individuals in a highly supportive environment and providing each fellow with cutting-edge research projects under experienced supervision and mentorship, regardless of the potential clinical specialty of the applicant.   Applicants must be fully qualified medical doctors in training in the UK and at Core Training level or above, in any specialty.

For more information on this programme please read the news article 'Imperial awarded new Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD programme'.

Accordion widget - Wellcome Trust

Aims of the 4i Programme

Our aim is to develop the clinical academic leaders of the future. The clinician scientist, through education and training in both biomedical science and clinical medicine, is uniquely positioned to develop key insights and identify knowledge gaps between biomedical research and clinical practice.

The Imperial Clinician Scientist programme focuses on the academic strengths of the College that are relevant to major health problems: Immunity, Inflammation, Infection and Informatics.

The Imperial Immunity, Inflammation, Infection and Informatics (4i)  programme offers an unparalleled and comprehensive portfolio of high quality internationally competitive research fellowships.

We have shaped our scheme to enable ‘early career success’ by placing talented individuals in a highly supportive environment and providing each individual with cutting-edge research projects under experienced supervision and mentorship.

Through eleven joint appointments and satellite laboratories with the Francis Crick Institute, our programme can offer training opportunities within this interdisciplinary biomedical research institute. There is also the opportunity of training in the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is jointly managed by Imperial College and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 

Why choose Imperial?

We have designed the Clinical PhD scheme to enable ‘early career success’ by placing talented individuals within a highly supportive and cutting edge research environment.

Successful candidates will:

  • Meet with at least two potential supervisors to identify a suitable research project
  • Participate in a series of two-week laboratory visits to facilitate project selection

 During the Imperial Wellcome Clinical PhD our Fellows will benefit from:

  • Two highly qualified and experienced PhD supervisors
  • Mentoring from an established clinical academic who is independent from the Fellow’s training environment
  • Regular research meetings and social events organised specifically for the 4i Fellows cohort
  • Broad skills training and development opportunities provided by the Imperial College London Graduate School
  • Regular input and guidance from our dedicated Wellcome Clinical PhD Programme Committee
  • Dedicated scheme support from the Imperial Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO)

 Towards the end of the PhD our Fellows will have:

  • A planned meeting with the scheme Director and their specialty training programme Director to develop a bespoke plan for reintegration back into clinical training
  • An opportunity to attend out-patient clinics and specialty-specific procedures

4i Supervisors

Our supervisors are independent clinical and non-clinical scientists, who are leading high-quality research programmes within the portfolio of the 4i theme. We have high-quality researchers across the 4i theme, including a large number of Wellcome Trust Investigators, located across different faculties of the College and within the MRC CSC and Francis Crick Institute. Our overall strategy is to offer a wide range of research projects within the domains of the 4i theme so that we can attract and accommodate a broad range of applicants. 

For examples of 2017 4i Supervisors and research projects please see Examples of Supervisors and Research Projects (Wellcome), but please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Eligibility and how to apply

Please note recruitment for places on the 2017 4i scheme is now closed. 


We are looking to recruit extremely talented individuals with strong intellectual achievements who possess the highest possible academic potential. 

Eligibility requirements – applicants should:

  • Be a GMC registered Doctor in training in the UK
  • Be at Core Training level or above (or in GP Training)
  • Be eligible to take time out of their clinical training programme (OOPR)

 How to apply

  • The closing date for submitting applications is:  Sunday 18 December 2016 (Midnight GMT)
  • We will take up references for all shortlisted applicants prior to the interview
  • Interviews are likely to take place in late January/early February 2017
  • After accepting an offer successful candidates will be required to submit a formal application to Imperial College London to register for a PhD using the postgraduate research application form

 Additional information

  • Recruitment will take place in late 2016/early 2017 with a view to successful candidates starting the research fellowship in Autumn 2017.  There is no fixed start date as we recognise the need to fit with clinical training requirements, however, we expect that all fellows will have started by Christmas 2017
  • Candidates are not required to have chosen a research project for this application. Following interviews, we will match successful candidates to supervisors, labs and projects
  • Wellcome PhD fellows are expected to conform to all requirements stated by the Imperial College London Graduate School Professional Skills programme as part of their PhD research degree registration.
  • Recruitment enquiries should be submitted by email only to: cato@imperial.ac.uk (please note the CATO office opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm)

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I apply to the Wellcome scheme to part-fund an existing research 
A. No. The scheme does not part-fund existing research.

Q. Can I (and/or my supervisor) propose a research project?
A.  Ideally, candidates will not have identified research projects prior to applying. An important aspect of the 4i scheme is the matching of successful applicants to the most appropriate research programme within the research portfolio. Choosing the right research programme is a critical step in the career pathway for the clinician scientist. The 4i scheme will enable successful applicants to meet several supervisors to identify a suitable project and to discuss potential projects with experienced independent scientists. 

Q. Do I need to include a project proposal with my application?
A. No. Candidates are not required to have identified a research project. An important aspect of the 4i scheme is the matching of successful applicants to the most appropriate research programmes within the research portfolio. Choosing the right research programme is a critical step in the career pathway for the clinician scientist. The 4i scheme will enable successful applicants to meet several supervisors to identify a suitable project and to discuss potential projects with experienced independent scientists.