Below are some answers to frequently asked questions in regards to the MultiSci Studentships award and application process. This information relates specifically to the MultiSci 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
How do I apply for the MultiSci Studentships?
Please see the How to apply page for all necessary information about the application process.
What is the selection process?
The selection process is overseen by the MultiSci Leadership Team, with an estimated timeline as follows:
Late November - Early December 2023: All applications which meet Imperial’s academic eligibility criteria are reviewed by the MultiSci Leadership team. Initial evaluation criteria are: research interests that match MultiSci’s interdisciplinary strategic areas and whether, an applicant’s academic/employment journey so far indicates potential to complete a PhD. Approx. 50% of applications progress to the next stage.
Mid December 2023 – Late January 2024: Applications still in the process are independently reviewed and scored by 3 Imperial academics. Motivation for undertaking a PhD, as well as personal and academic attributes needed to do this successfully are evaluated. Based on scores and comments, approx. 24 applicants will be invited to interview (thisusually represents approx. 15% of total applications).
Mid-Late February 2024: Online panel interviews (usually 3 Imperial academics and 1 current PhD student) take place. Based on scores and comments from all interviewers, up to 8 candidates are contacted by email in early March 2024 with an offer for the 2024-25 entry to the MultiSci Studentship Programme.
When will I know the outcome of my application?
Applicants should expect to know their outcome, unsuccessful or invited to interview, by the end of January 2024. We aim to make offers to successful students in early March 2024.
How do I apply for both MultiSci and the President’s PhD Scholarship at the same time?
Please submit a separate application form for the President's PhD Scholarship. You will need to identify a supervisor beforehand.
- There is not a specific scholarship application form. You should submit your application for admission to study at Imperial through our online admissions system and your department will put you forward for the scholarship based on academic merit and potential.
- In the application form, indicate that you wish to be considered for the President's PhD Scholarship. This can be done in the funding section of the additional questions tab within the online application form.
- As your second choice, list PhD study in your chosen department. You will need a specific department PhD description or course code. Your potential supervisor will be able to advise on this or put you in touch with the departmental administration team to help.
- If you are not able to submit a second personal statement or research proposal, you can upload it as a supporting document and at the start of your personal statement (for your first choice), make it clear that you have done this. Alternatively, at the start of your personal statement you can explain that you are applying for both schemes, and structure it to fit both.
- Please also refer to the full application process for the President's PhD Scholarship.
Will you need my references at the time of my application and who should I ask?
- Yes, we need your referee details at the time of application. As soon as you submit your application, a reference request will be automatically sent to your referees. The deadline for receipt of references is 23 November 2023. You should ensure that at least one reference in support of your application is submitted by this deadline.
- Your application should include the name and contact details of two referees, at least one of which should be an academic referee. In selecting your referees, you should consider that those who have worked with/supervised you directly are most likely to be able to provide strong evidence of your suitability for PhD studies. You should also consider who will be able to return a reference for you without delay.
Is it possible to just complete the 3.5-year PhD with a MultiSci studentship?
No, MultiSci is a 4.5-year programme. The first year of MultiSci provides important foundational training to prepare you for undertaking a PhD at Imperial, as well as MultSci cohort activities.
Lab rotations undertaken during the first year gives you the opportunity to try out different labs before deciding where to do your PhD. It also allows you to learn new skills and expand your academic network–which are invaluable as you develop your PhD project.
I would prefer to undertake a different Master’s programme during the first year of MultiSci, not the MRes Biomedical Research. Can I do this?
No, because the MultiSci MRes Biomedical Research includes MultiSci-specific cohort training and this cannot be extended to other Master's programmes.
However, the College application form will allow you to make up to two programme choices, a first and a second choice. You may list a different Master's programme as your second choice, but this cannot be linked in any way to the MultiSci Studentship.
I would like to pursue a Master's course at Imperial even if my MultiSci application is unsuccessful. Can I submit an application?
- Yes, you may indicate any Master's programme as second choice on your application form. Please see the Admissions FAQs https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/help-centre/postgraduate-admissions/
- If you are in doubt how to submit your second choice, or you have other admissions process questions, we suggest that you write to email@example.com to ask.
Does the 4.5 year studentship involve direct progression from Master's to PhD?
- Yes. You will initially register as an MRes student, and following successful completion of the programme and confirmation of your PhD project, we will transfer you directly to the PhD register. A separate application for your PhD at Imperial will not be needed.
- Please note: international students are currently required to apply for separate visas for the MRes registration and the PhD registration.
Can I take on teaching/clinical work or other paid work during the studentship?
Students may undertake teaching, demonstrating or other paid work, provided that:
- They are legally allowed to do so: 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. Information for international students is available here.
- It does not interfere with their studies: it would normally be expected that work takes place outside of core teaching/working hours, and we recommend that the total demand on time including time spent in preparation, does not normally exceed six hours a week. Any time away from your research should be discussed/agreed with your supervisor in advance.
Am I eligible to apply for the MultiSci Studentships?
I am an international applicant. Will my full tuition fees be covered?
We welcome applications from international candidates. If successful, international students will receive an identical funding package as home students which includes home level tuition fees at the UKRI level.
- Successful international candidates will be required to apply for separate visas for their MRes and PhD registrations.
- Unfortunately, the College cannot cover any of the costs associated with the separate visa applications.
- Due to financial reasons, not all departments at Imperial are able to support international MultiSci students for their PhD projects. If you are made an offer, we will discuss this with you in advance, and help you identify research groups which could accommodate you. You would not berequired to cover any difference between UKRI and international tuition fee levels.
- If you have any questions regarding your fee status, or wish to appeal a given status, please follow the guidance on the fee status page. For visa guidance, please contact the International Office firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the Imperial College research themes for this programme?
Three research themes combine to create an integrated programme for our MultiSci studentships:
- The battle against infections
- Understanding disease mechanisms in humans
- Realising the power of big data to improve health
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 8 students in this cohort, with studentships awarded to the best students, who, under advice from the MultiSci Leadership Team, then go on to choose projects in one of the research areas indicated on their application form.
Is my area of research interest included?
Probably! MultiSci’s research themes are broad and encompass an extensive and wide range of research areas. When applying, you will be asked to describe your research area of interest with three key words or phrases – this will help us clarify the connection between our research themes and your research interests.
If you are made an offer for MultiSci, you will not be restricted to working within these areas – your research interests may evolve or change as you carry out project rotations in year 1 of your studentship.
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: Understanding disease mechanisms in humans
An interest in Infectious Disease
Key phrases: Malaria, Molecular, Vaccination
Research area: The battle against infections
An interest in Cardiolovascular Science
Key phrases: Myocardial Disease, Gene Therapy, Dial Disease
Research area: Understanding disease mechanisms in humans
An interest in Child Health
Key phrases: Paediatrics, Neonatology, Epidemiology
Research area: Realising the power of big data to improve health
What type of research are you funding under the programme?
Research carried out by MRC-DTP funded students at Imperial is incredibly varied – just like at Imperial itself. A selection of previous PhD projects carried out by our students is given below. For MultiSci students, the only requirement is that the project aligns with one (or more) of MultiSci’s strategic research themes.
Here are some examples of PhD projects:-
- From single cells to cognitive phenotypes: development of multimodal foundational AI models with clinical applications (MultiSci PhD project).
- Defining the mechanisms underlying the development of adaptive immunity to Streptococcus pyogenes (MultiSci PhD project)
- Using metabolomics and tissue imaging to study metabolic interventions in ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) (MultiSci PhD project).
- Understanding the importance of electrical stimulation in spinal cord injury repair (MultiSci PhD project)Longitudinal Multi-Omic Data Integration for the Study of Evolutionary Dynamics and Awakening in Hormone Dependent Breast Cancer (MultiSci PhD project).
- A Study of Epstein Barr Virus Oncoproteins EBNA3A and EBNA3C In Vitro and In Vivo.
- Engineering a novel diagnostic test for tuberculosis using nanoparticle-based detection of a whole blood gene expression signature.
- The Potential of the Pedunculopontine Nucleus for Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease.
- Genetic Mapping of Metabonomic Markers of CardioMetabolic Diseases Metabolic Charactersiation of Neuroblastoma.
Supervisors and research projects
Do I need to have a supervisor and research project confirmed before I apply for the MultiSci 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.
Which PhD research projects are available and who can I choose as a supervisor?
- MultiSci does not provide a list of pre-designed PhD projects. Instead, students are supported in identifying research groups they would like to work with, and develop their own projects in partnership with prospective supervisors. The main ways in which MultiSci students find out about potential PhD topics and labs are:
- Through their MRes project rotations: getting first-hand experience of working on a topic is a great way to find out if you want to do a PhD on it. However, it is not a requirement that you do your PhD in a lab you did an MRes project in.
- Using their research and networking skills to explore the range of research being carried out at Imperial.
- Discussing their interests with the MultiSci team, who provide a list of researchers at Imperial who are interested in working with a MultiSci student.
- MultiSci PhD projects can be based in any Faculty at Imperial, and at least 2 supervisors are required – providing a great opportunity for students to develop new inter-disciplinary collaborations. It is important to note the following regulations relating to primary supervisor eligibity:
- A primary supervisor would normally hold at least a Senior Lecturer post at Imperial, and be experienced PhD supervisor (i.e. has led PhD students to completion).
- Anyone already holding the role of primary supervisor for an MRC-DTP studentship recipient is not eligible to be primary supervisor for a MultiSci student.
- MultiSci PhD supervisors and research projects cannot be based within the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (as this runs a separate MRC-supported PhD programme).
- All supervisors will be required to have completed the Cornerstone ‘Fundamentals of Supervising PhD Students’ online course before a MultiSci PhD project commences.
Financial support package
What funding does the studentship package include?
The MultiSci studentship covers:
- Payment of tuition fees at UKRI level for 2023-24 - international students should note that not all departments at Imperial will be able to accept them for their PhD due to the difference in fee levels required.
- A tax-free maintenance award, currently £20,622 per annum, during the MRes and PhD years. Stipend support of up to 6 months is also provided for writing-up.
- 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.
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