Sensory Systems and Therapies (GCS)

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Funded by UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences, UCLH/UCL Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, the Specialist Biomedical Research Centres at Moorfields/UCL and Great Ormond Street UCL, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME), and inspired by its Grand Challenges (, UCL’s Sensory Systems and Therapies PhD training programme ( is designed to attract those researchers with the highest intellectual and scientific skills to the field of biomedical and life sciences in the sensory systems.

Grand Challenge Studentships in Sensory Systems and Therapies are awarded to those individuals best able to demonstrate their intellectual promise, likely holding an excellent first degree in basic science, engineering, medicine or the behavioural and social sciences (psychology, sociology, biology etc) an evident capacity for critical thinking, and a desire to address fundamental questions in biomedical and life sciences relevant to human health and wellbeing, particularly as they relate to the special senses of hearing and vision.

Studentship Description

The specific focus of the current call for studentships is on the Sensory Systems (esp. hearing and vision). Available research projects range from investigations into fundamental aspects of sensory processing and translational approaches to prevention and early detection of deafness and blindness, through to development of novel therapies and interventions, including enhancement and development of technology-based interventions such as cochlear and retinal implants, or new methods of drug delivery to sensory organs. One studentship, supported by UCL’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) will include an additional (the first) year, in which students will undertake a MRes in Medical Technology Entrepreneurship, followed by a 3-year PhD programme. Another studentship supported by UCL’s Impact Studentship scheme, and part-funded by GSK, will address cell biological mechanisms in retinal vascular disease.

We encourage outstanding individuals to engage in innovative research across a broad canvas.  To indicate the scope of the scheme, current and past GCS projects are listed here

Other than the 4 year studentship funded by the IBME, studentships will be funded for 3 years (all studentships include a stipend of £18,000 pa, Home/EU fees and £5,000 pa research funds), and will provide a multi-disciplinary training programme in a highly-supportive environment.  Based within one of the high-profile Institutes in UCL’s Faculty of Brain Sciences, students will have access to world-class laboratory, field or office research facilities, with the opportunity to work with clinical colleagues at UCL’s range of specialist hospitals (Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital)

Students will be encouraged to establish links and collaborations that cut across traditional laboratory, departmental and discipline boundaries, with supervision by UCL’s outstanding basic and clinical research teams. In return, Grand Challenge Students in Sensory Systems and Therapies are expected to engage fully with UCL in its commitment to meeting its Grand Challenges. 

Interested in applying?  See this page for application process.

**Page last updated 16 April 2014**


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