Clinical PhD programme

The application process for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Clinical PhD Programme for the 2016 intake is now open.

The closing date is: Monday 16th November 2015 (23:59 GMT)

For information about the nature of the research being undertaken at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute please visit our Faculty pages.

Morgan Building, Genome Campus

Morgan Building, Genome Campus [Markus Brosch, Sanger Institute]


The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Clinical PhD programme is a 3-year programme, run in partnership with the Cambridge Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians.

Seven clinical fellowships are available each year, two of which are funded by the Institute. The two Sanger Institute fellowships are open to overseas applicants, and if successful you will be required to obtain GMC registration. It is anticipated that most applicants will have already commenced their specialist training, but this is not essential. The most important criteria we are looking for are academic excellence and the potential to pursue a career in academic medicine. Salaries are maintained in accordance with recognised UK clinical academic scales.

Before starting their PhD, clinicians selected for the programme are able to meet potential supervisors across the departments of the University of Cambridge and its affiliated University Partner Institutions, and undertake one or more mini-projects within their broad area of interest. This allows them to make an informed choice of PhD project and supervisor. Academic Clinical Fellows based in Cambridge can do this within the 25 per cent of their time allocated for research, whereas all other successful applicants will be offered up to three months funding to allow them the opportunity to do this.

For more information about opportunities at the Sanger Institute, please see examples of potential PhD projects.

Those clinicians that choose to carry out their PhD at the Sanger Institute are expected to attend training courses in transferable and general research skills, participate in the students' journal club, present their work regularly and attend seminars. They also have to present their work annually at a Summer Symposium held jointly with the other students on the Cambridge Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians. In addition, the Director of the Programme arranges 'clinical' mentoring for the students. All clinicians on the programme are encouraged to hold honorary contracts at Addenbrookes Hospital in order to maintain their clinical links.

The progress of our clinical PhD students is monitored by assessment of their first year report and by thesis committee meetings, which take place every six months. Also within the first few months of their PhD, in common with the other students on the Cambridge Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians, our clinical students have to prepare a research proposal for their project in the form of a 'Project Grant Application'. This is discussed with a panel of leading academics connected with the programme, before being submitted to the Wellcome Trust.

For more information about the programme and details on how to apply go to: Cambridge Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians.

In summary, you have to apply in writing, enclosing your curriculum vitae and a one page statement on why you want to apply to the programme, together with the names and addresses of three referees. Applications are collated by the Programme's administrator based at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories.

Applicants are shortlisted and interviewed by a selection panel consisting of the Programme Director, Deputy Director, a Director of another Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians, the Sanger Institute's Director of Graduate Studies and a selection of 'theme leads' for the programme.

Former student case studies

To see what some of our former clinical PhD students have achieved during their time at the Institute, and since, please go to case studies.

* quick link -