• The programme is looking for applicants with skills in mathematics, statistics and computer science. Applicants should hold or expect to hold a UK bachelor’s degree in Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, or an allied discipline described below.

    Examples of allied disciplines are Engineering, Machine Learning, (Health) Data Science, Robotics, Systems Biology, Bioinformatics/biostatistics, and Epidemiology.

    Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in other disciplines may also be eligible if they can demonstrate their suitability through additional qualifications or research experience in Mathematics, Statistics or Computer Science.

    I am a clinician, am I eligible to apply for the PhD programme?

    Active or currently registered clinicians are not eligible to apply. Clinically-qualified applicants should consider the Wellcome Clinical PhD programmes.

  • There are no nationality restrictions and international students are able to apply. However, applicants are advised the award only covers fees at the UK/Home level. International students will be required to secure an additional scholarship from our partner universities to cover the difference between Home and Overseas fees. This will limit the university choices available (see Table 1 for international student scholarship availability).

  • Applicants must be able to remain and study legally in the UK for the duration of the studentship and are responsible for applying for any visas, where relevant, with the support of their home university. The home university will be able to provide you with advice and guidance on the visa application process and will support your application. HDR UK cannot take any responsibility for applying for a visa on your behalf, however we can provide letters confirming the details of your studentship including stipend amount.

  • 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.

  • Students are required to meet the entry requirements of their home university including any English language requirements. Please check with your chosen university for 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.

Application Guidance

  • There are up to 8 studentships available each academic year.

    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.

  • The table below shows information as to which universities have scholarships or fee waivers available for international students. Please be aware that these are usually highly competitive and will need to be applied for separately. A successful application to the PhD programme does not guarantee a fee waiver or scholarship.

    Table 1

    University[AG1] Programme International Fee Awards Comments Subject Specialities
    Queen’s University Belfast None specified None
    UCL PhD Statistical Science Available One international fee award available for 2022 entry with the Department of Statistical Science. Students must remain with the department for the duration of their studies. Bayesian statistical modelling

    Health economics

    UCL PhD Institute of Health Informatics None
    University of Birmingham PhD Computer Science None Medical imaging

    Causal Reasoning

    Model-based learning

    Network models in biology

    University of Birmingham PhD Cancer & Genomic Sciences None Bioinformatics


    Electronic health records

    University of Cambridge PhD Public Health Available A limited number of international fee scholarship awards are available award from the University of Cambridge. Application information will be given upon successful award of an HDRUK studentship.
    University of Edinburgh None specified Available All international applicants welcome.
    University of Manchester PhD HDRUK Health Data Science Available One international fee scholarship is available for 2022 entry. Clinical Prediction Models

    Text Mining

    Medical Image Analysis

    Statistical Epidemiology Wearable Biosensors.

    University of Oxford DPhil HDRUK Health Data Science Available A limited number of international fee scholarship awards are available from the University of Oxford. Application information will be given upon successful award of an HDRUK studentship.
  • Yes, all applicants must also apply to their chosen partner university. Instructions for doing so will be provided as part of your offer from HDR UK if you are successful.

  • You will be asked to make a university application after you have received an offer from HDRUK.

    You may apply for other university PhD programmes in parallel.

  • Any offer of a studentship will be conditional on the student receiving an offer (either conditional or unconditional) from the university and degree programme specified in their offer letter. We will make offers for the courses listed in the table above (see which universities offer waivers to international students).

  • To find out more about the PhD Programmes at our partner universities we suggest students look at the information available on university websites. We would also suggest contacting the relevant academic lead of the postgraduate admissions team at the university in question.

  • There are seven home universities in our programme (Queen’s University Belfast, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, University of Oxford) and we expect to distribute students across our partners. This year we will prioritise allocating students to the Universities of Birmingham and Queen’s University Belfast.

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

  • Applicants who are invited to interview may request feedback. Please note that feedback will only be available to unsuccessful applicants for up to six months after their application. Unfortunately, given the volume of applications we are not able to give feedback to those applicants who are not invited to interview.

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

  • If you are not offered a studentship following interview, we may hold your name on a reserve list and will let you know should a position or opportunity become available.

  • 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) 203 862 3345.[AG2]

  • Candidates will be allocated a supervisor who will act as a personal tutor for their first year of study from the relevant faculty at their home university. The first year 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 expect the subject of the PhD to be decided by the end of the first year, and hope students 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 referee should be someone who knows you in a formal context, e.g. a supervisor, employer, or volunteer manager. All referees must be invited using a workplace or professional email address.

  • 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 able to offer the option of remote interviews to applicants.

  • If necessary, we will hold all interviews remotely.

  • We do not accept CVs or Resumes.  There is no facility on the application form system to upload documents as part of the application. You can add your academic and professional experience on the application form.  There are also free text boxes for you to add additional information in support of your application.

About the programme

  • This programme is led by Health Data Research UK and funded by the Wellcome Trust. The Alan Turing Institute is a programme partner, as are seven world leading universities: University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, Queen’s University Belfast, and University College London.

    This programme is not connected to the Alan Turing Doctoral Studentships, which are no longer running.

  • Our programme begins in October. We are unable to accept students at other times of the year.

  • The duration of the studentship is four years full time.

  • For the foundational training year students will be expected to meet programme progression requirements, which will include the development of a PhD research proposal for Years 2-4. Students will also be required to meet the progression requirements of their home university to continue to the PhD research project. The foundational training year will involve programmed activity spread throughout the country, led by various institutions. Students will be asked to produce a first year progress report. Students may also be required to complete courses at their home university.

  • 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.

  • Throughout your first year you will be supported by a personal tutor who will guide your learning and development. You will also belong to a cohort of students based around the UK who will join you at training events.

    As a registered student you will have access to all the facilities available at your home university. The HDR UK-Turing Health Data Science PhD Programme team will also be on hand to advise on any matters related to your participation in the programme.

  • The first year of study 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 full-time studentship are expected to submit their doctoral thesis by the end of the 4th year of study. For 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.

  • Students will be based at their home university. Only one of the seven partner universities is based in London. Students will travel to foundational training activities at partner institutions throughout their foundation year.

    Students will not have access to or be based in HDR UK, other than for specific activities.

  • 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.