• To be considered for this programme, each applicant must have (or be on track to obtain):

    • A First Class or 2:1 undergraduate degree in statistics, mathematics, computer science, physics or an allied subject or
    • Any undergraduate degree subject and outcome but can demonstrate their suitability for this programme through additional qualifications or research experience.

    Allied subjects can include: Engineering, Machine Learning, Data Science, Robotics, Systems Biology, Bioinformatics / Biostatistics, Epidemiology.

  • International students are welcome to apply to our programme. Please see the section on international applicants on our application page for further details.

  • Yes, you can. There is no eligibility criterion against having a PhD already. However, it would be expected that the subject of the PhD would not be in an area that overlaps with the scientific remit of this PhD programme.

  • We do not accept self-funded students or partially self-funded students . This includes the difference between Home and International fees. We also do not accept students with external third party funding except university scholarships.

About the programme

  • Students will be expected to meet programme progression requirements, which will include the development of a PhD research proposal for Years 2-4 and a first year progress report. Students will also be required to meet the progression requirements of their home university to continue to the PhD research project.

  • During their first year each student will be invited to a review meeting to discuss their progress. In addition, each student will be asked to provide a research project report at the end of the foundation year and to create and regularly update their ORCID profile. Doctoral students must also conform to their home university’s assessment and engagement requirements.

  • The foundation year is available on a full-time basis only.

    Students may apply to participate in years two to four of their studentship on a part- time basis. Students on a part-time basis the expectation is to submit their doctoral thesis within the limits of their university PhD course requirements.

    We recommend you contact the recruitment team to discuss your options if you are interested in a mixed mode studentship. Any conversation will be treated confidentially and not used to assess any future applications you may make.

    Any offer of a mixed mode of study will be conditional on acceptance to the chosen university on an appropriate course e.g. part time.

  • The foundational year of study will involve a combination of different types of training with a significant proportion led at our partner organisations around the UK and including residential events of up to one weeks’ duration.

    Travel and accommodation expenses for attending training events will be provided, as will help finding suitable accommodation. Reasonable adjustments will be made for any applicants who require them.

  • We will:

    • Seek to understand the challenges and barriers to equality in order to eliminate discrimination, creating an environment where differences are valued.
    • Welcome applications from returning students and those in employment who wish to re-enter academic research.
    • Promote a culture of inclusion, recognising and celebrating difference and acknowledging the benefits achieved by diversity of thought and experience.
    • Create a safe, non-judgemental space where we can discuss any issues that arise relating to equality, diversity, and inclusion, and support one another to understand and acknowledge a range of perspectives.
    • Embed equality, diversity and inclusion across all levels of the programme and in everything that we do.
    • Educate our community and raise awareness in all areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion ensuring our commitment to EDI is understood by all.
  • These are residential 3-5 day events which allow students to gain insight into the work of HDR UK, and our academic, clinical and industry partners. Students undertake an intensive deep dive into an important area of health data science.

    Immersion topics include risk prediction, oncology, clinical trials, epidemiology and bioinformatics. Past immersion weeks have been hosted by the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford and University College London and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Application Guidance

  • There are up to 5 studentships available for 2023-24.

    You may express a preference for multiple universities. However, you may not be offered one of your preferred choices. We would encourage applicants to consider being open in their selection of universities and willing to work at multiple partners across the network. If successful your offer will be tied to a specific university and degree programme.

  • As all students will be enrolled on a local PhD programme the choice of university will affect what you study. Some universities have also indicated a specialism within their subject areas. Students with a particular interest are encouraged to apply to a university that specialises in that subject.

  • We encourage applicants to let us know any important information regarding your university selection, e.g. caring responsibilities, personal circumstances or disabilities or additional needs that require a certain location. There is a space on the application form to provide this information regarding your selection of university. This information will be reviewed by the recruitment team but not used to assess your application.

  • Yes, you will be asked to make a university application after you have received an offer from HDR UK. Instructions and guidance for doing so will be provided as part of your offer.

  • Students may not be offered their first choice of preference. All offers will be tied to a specific partner university.

  • Applicants who were previously unsuccessful may apply in the following year if their application differs from previous applications, e.g., further relevant qualifications or experience has been acquired.

  • HDR UK is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. We encourage applicants to let us know about any reasonable adjustments they may require. You may already know what you would like to request, or you may like to have a general discussion of your options.

    We will treat any information you disclose to us as sensitive and will handle it in line with the Data Protection Act. Information will only be used to arrange reasonable adjustments and will not be used to assess your application.

    To discuss an adjustment to the application process, please contact our team directly at phd@hdruk.ac.uk or call (+44 (0)770 847 8846).

  • No. Candidates will be allocated a supervisor who will act as a personal tutor for their first year. This supervisor will support your training and development and help you to decide what you would like to select for your research project. The research supervisory team in Years 2-4 will be determined during the course of Year 1 as part of your research project developments.

    Whilst an applicant should have an idea of what they are interested in working on for their PhD, this does not have to be finalised during the application stage. We are looking for applicants who can enter the programme with an open mind.

  • Yes, you will need to supply the details of two referees as part of the assessment process. Your referees should be people who know you in a professional context, e.g. a supervisor, personal tutor, employer, or volunteer manager, and institutional email addresses will need to be provided.

  • HDR UK will cover the cost of your travel expenses (up to a maximum amount, which you will be informed about if invited to interview). You (the student) will need to cover the cost of any visa requirements. We are also able to offer the option of remote interviews to applicants.

The programme team

    • Professor Peter Bannister, Managing Director, Romilly Life Sciences, Executive Chair, Institution of Engineering and Technology Healthcare Sector and Honorary Professor, University of Birmingham
    • Professor Alastair Denniston, Consultant Ophthalmologist/Research Lead for Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHSFT and Honorary Professor, University of Birmingham
    • Dr Tahreema Matin, National Clinical Advisor for Education Reform, Health Education England (HEE)
    • Dr Guy Gross, Chief Operating Officer, Teladoc Health
    • Mark Avery, Director of Health Informatics, Eastern AHSN and Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP), Operational Lead for ‘Gut Reaction’ – the Health Data Research Hub for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
    • Professor Marc Vendrell, Personal Chair of Translational Chemistry and Biomedical Imaging, University of Edinburgh
    • Professor Richard Mellanby, Professor of Comparative Medicine, University of Edinburgh
    • Dr Elin Haf Davies, CEO, Aparito, Chair at Metabolic Support UK, Research Fellow, CASMI
    • Dr Rebecca Sims, Research Fellow, Cardiff University
    • Dr Victor Neduva, Senior Principal Scientist, MSD and Honorary Lecturer, Imperial College London
    • Professor Kianoush Nazarpour, Reader in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence, School of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh.