Our PhD programme aims to develop our future leaders in health data science by bringing quantitative methods graduates into the health research sphere operating within a team science framework. Its underlying philosophy is that health data science requires a combination of expertise spanning three fundamental areas: statistical, computational and health sciences. This goes beyond the capacity of any single individual; impactful progress can only be made through highly collaborative communities led by resilient leaders who can challenge and overcome restrictive paradigms.  Health data scientists must therefore be trained to operate in multi-disciplinary teams with each member an expert in one of the fundamental areas but conversant in all three.

About the Programme

Our four-year programme includes one year of foundational training followed by a three-year thesis project. It will have a UK-wide reach, drawing on the combined research expertise of two national research institutions and our university partners. Each student will be co-supervised by at least one expert in quantitative methods and one in substantive health research. Co-funded projects with non-academic partners will include a third supervisor drawn from the partner organisation. Topic selection will be informed by exposure during Year 1 to a wide range of problems and methodologies, before an informed decision is made for the research topic in Years 2-4.

Why HDR UK/Turing?

As the national institutes in Health Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and Data Science respectively, our alliance in research and education provides the breadth and depth of scientific expertise required to realise our vision of first-class doctoral training. Working together we will provide a unique training programme that will overcome “silo mentality” and give our students a national outlook from the outset. Our recruits will lead to a new cohort of ‘T-shaped researchers’ supported by provision of entrepreneurship training, and connected to the broader network of industry and public sector organisations that will enrich and exploit their insights.

Who is it for?

We are seeking to attract applicants who want to develop and apply their quantitative skills to real world health problems and embed themselves within a “team science” philosophy. This programme is principally intended for graduates who have a substantial background in quantitative science (e.g. mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering, computer science). We would also be interested in applicants from the social, biological or medical sciences who have achieved relevant postgraduate qualifications (e.g. such as HDR UK Masters in Health Data Science).

How do I apply?

Further details on the application process will be available soon. Join our mailing list here to receive details when applications open:

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Professor Peter Diggle, Director of Training at Health Data Research UK:

“This PhD programme is a big step forward in our ambition to meet the UK’s need for trained health data scientists at every career stage, from school leavers to senior leaders. Working with The Alan Turing Institute, and with our academic and industry partners throughout the UK, we aim to attract the UK’s best statistics and computer science graduates into the data-rich world of twenty-first century health research.”


Dr Christopher Yau, Turing Fellow and co-director of the programme, said:

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to develop our future digital health leaders. Embedding our PhD students within an extensive cross-sector, multi-disciplinary collaborative network formed from Health Data Research UK, The Alan Turing Institute and many other partner organisations will enable them to address the greatest challenges in implementing health data science at scale. I am excited to see the new discoveries and methodologies that these students will make in the coming years which will lead to profound improvements in patient care and life quality.”