Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians

Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians

UCL hosts a Wellcome Trust funded PhD programme for clinicians. This enables us to support the most promising medically qualified clinicians who wish to undertake rigorous research training at UCL. Our programme exploits the outstanding science community at UCL and the new Francis Crick Institute to provide a unique training programme for clinicians. The guiding principles of our programme are to encourage clinical fellows to consider a broad range of PIs that are outside their clinical discipline as potential supervisors, and to mentor them through their PhD to intermediate clinical fellowships and beyond.

Applications are invited as part of a national advertisement. You do not need to have worked at UCL or UCLH previously to apply, and the programme will provide a fully-funded research studentship to enable talented clinicians to sample high-quality research environments at UCL and the Francis Crick Institute before they develop a research proposal that is tailored to their individual interest. The UCL SLMS Academic Careers Office will provide advice and support. Finally, at the end of the programme the Clinical Academic Next Steps scheme will provide advice and support extending into your next clinical post to facilitate your progression as a clinical academic leader of the future.

Use the links below to read specific information about the programme:

Supervisor Profiles

Our programme is very diverse and draws together research scientists and clinical academics across many different Departments and Institutes at UCL, plus the Francis Crick Institute in which UCL is a founding partner.

We currently have 93 high quality Principal Investigators across eight research areas, all of whom are fully committed to providing excellent clinical academic training for our fellows.

Please see link here for Supervisor Profiles.

Programme Director

Geraint Rees

Professor Geraint Rees FMedSci

Geraint was appointed Dean of Life Sciences in 2014 in the School of Life and Medical Sciences and was previously the Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Funded by the Wellcome Trust for over a decade, his work focuses on understanding the neural basis of consciousness in health and disease. Fully committed to supporting clinical academic training for many years, he set up the UCL Academic Careers Office to enhance our ability to support and mentor the brightest and best clinicians in their future careers.


If you have any questions about the programme, please contact Anna Hindley in the Academic Careers Office in the School of Life and Medical Sciences

Academic Careers Office

School of Life & Medical Sciences
University College London
1st Floor Maple House
149 Tottenham Court Road
London W1T 7NF

Tel: 020 7679 6519 

Programme Structure

After appointment the successful fellow will meet with the Director/Deputy Director and a representative of the domain (or Francis Crick lead) for his/her area of interest.

  • Fellows will be required to meet PIs in different domains and to consider a wide range of options for their PhD (‘thinking outside the box’). 
  • In order to help the fellow make the best choice, if necessary we will fund and facilitate a three month OOPR prior to take up of the Fellowship. 
  • This will allow the fellow to undertake 3 x 1 month mini-projects in order to experience working with different PIs and to allow them to develop a PhD project. 
  • They will then select a primary and secondary PhD supervisor and write a full grant application on which they will be assessed by a viva examination prior to starting their PhD. 

Progress through the first year report and submission of a final PhD thesis will follow the existing University regulations.

  • Some fellows will require a period of additional training to develop appropriate skills before embarking on their PhD. 
  • These are typically in epidemiology, computational biology, machine learning, imaging and advanced bioinformatics but may also be in emerging areas such as nanotechnology and medicinal chemistry. 
  • In these cases we will offer a one year taught MSc/MRes selected from the extensive modular curriculum available at UCL to develop the skills required for their PhD.
  • Individuals who select this option will be required to pass the assessment stipulated in the degree and will not be offered the 3 month OOPR (see below).

During their PhD fellows will be required to engage in a range of additional training activities that take advantage of unique aspects of the UCL environment. These will include training in

  • enterprise/entrepreneurship (through the UCL Institute for Biomedical Engineering and UCL Advances)
  • public engagement (UCL is a Beacon for Public Engagement)
  • experimental medicine (through our Clinical Research Facilities). 

As active members of the scholarly community, fellows will also be expected to contribute to broader College-wide activities such as the UCL Grand Challenges and Global Citizenship agendas.

Current Fellows

Congratulations to the successful 2015 appointed fellows!

This is the second year of the programme and we are delighted to announce our second cohort of fellows:


Anna Aryee  tbc
Anob Chakrabarti tbc
Kate El Bouzidi tbc
Neil Halliday tbc
Valerie Kuan tbc

Cordelia Coltart Department of Infection and Population Health
Maryam Khosravi Division of Biosciences
Neelam Kumar Division of Medicine
Richard Rosch Institute of Neurology
Taavi Tillmann Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care

How to apply

Who can apply?

The overarching quality that we are looking for in applicants are academic excellence and the potential to pursue a career in academic medicine.  You should be able to demonstrate your potential in your application and at interview.

To apply, you need to be a GMC-registered clinician with a relevant connection to the European Economic Area. You can be at any stage of your training; although some applicants will have commenced their specialist training, this is not essential.

  • Applicants who have already finished their training and received a CCT are not eligible.
When can I apply?

The 2016/17 recruitment is now open

Closing date: 18th December 2015   Interview date: 2 February 2016

To apply, please click on UCL vacancies

  • At interview you will be expected to answer questions about your previous research experience and potential for a clinical academic career.
  • The interview panel will include the Programme Directors, a representative from the Francis Crick Institute and a selection of Principal Investigators from each programme plus a current Fellow.
  • We will also invite a Director of another Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians to join the panel.

What funding is provided?

Each successful Fellow will be awarded a grant from the Wellcome Trust that will cover:

    • A clinical salary
    • University fees paid at the home/EU rate
    • Research expenses
    • A contribution towards travel expenses
    • A contribution towards general training costs

An allowance for animal costs is also available if required (on a case by case basis) subject to approval by the Wellcome Trust.

Note that if you do not qualify for home/EU fees at UCL then you will be required to pay fees at the overseas rate and the difference between home/EU and overseas fees will not be covered by the grant.

If this is the case, you will need to find these funds yourself. If you think this may apply to you, then please read the UCL guidance on fees  or contact the Anna Hindley if required.


Selecting your supervisor is one of the most important things you will do. More >


A successful project is the foundation of your future academic career. More >


UCL has one of the largest portfolios of research fellowships. More >