UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


4-year PhD Programme in Neurodegeneration 

for Clinical and Non-clinical Fellows

funded by Eisai, Ltd and the Wolfson Foundation 



Content and Structure

This is a four year programme consisting of taught courses and lab rotations in the first year, followed by the PhD research project in years two-four. The taught courses include:

1. Statistics and data analysis

2. Library and database usage

3. MSc modules, as required. (See MSc Dementia for examples) 

During the first year, students will also conduct three 10-12 week research projects at three different laboratories. Research projects will all have an industrial slant and will be divided into three broad themes:

1. Therapeutic Focus: Neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, synucleinopathies and other related dementias  

2. Basic mechanisms and interventions, e.g. Proteinopathy / aggregation

3. Enabling Technologies / Platforms, e.g. ‘Disease-in-a-dish’ models of human disease (including iPSCs), Non-invasive translational biomarkers (e.g. fluid-based such as CSF, blood etc.) 

In each of the rotations, students will be expected to participate fully in the activities of the laboratories in which they are based, in order to gain an undertanding of the practical research skills and knowledge in which that lab is expert.

The experience and knowledge gained through the taught courses and lab rotations will help students to identify their supervisor(s) and PhD project of interest, which they will then follow for the remaining three years of the programme. It is anticipated that students will have a large input into the development of interdiscplinary research projects, combining the projects undertaken during their lab rotations to develop new and innovative ideas.

In addition to the range of projects offered within UCL, there will be opportunities for students to take advantage of our close links with one of our funders, Eisai, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical research companies. Students will be able to engage in rotation projects and develop their PhD studies within their laboratories.

Professor Gill Bates
Professor Elizabeth Fisher
Dr Pietro Fratta 
Dr Sonia Gandhi 
Professor Linda Greensmith
Professor John Hardy
Professor Adrian Isaacs 
Professor Josef Kittler
Dr Tammaryn Lashley 
Professor Simon Mead
Professor Huw Morris 
Dr Rickie Patani 
Professor Helene Plun-Favreau
Professor Giampietro Schiavo

Professor Sarah Tabrizi

Professor Jernej Ule
Professor Tom Warner
Professor Nicholas Wood
Dr Selina Wray 
Professor Henrik Zetterberg
Eligibility and Funding

Non-clinical PhD Programme

This programme is aimed at graduates with a strong interest in multi-disciplinary research in neurodegeneration. Applications are invited from students whose first degree is in a biological, physical or chemical or other relevant discipline. Please note this is a strongly molecular PhD- those with psychology backgrounds may be better served in a different programme, although are welcome to apply. 

Entry requirements

You should have, or expect, a UK honours degree (minimum 2:1) or international equivalent, in relevant field as above. The UCL English Language proficiency requirement must have already been met at the time of application. 


Studentships cover UK/EU tuition fees and pay a generous tax-free stipend, starting at £22,278 in the first year [see Wellcome Trust funding rates for full details]. Students are also given an allowance of £4k for travel and £36k for project consumables. 

Applications from overseas students will be considered; however, you must provide evidence that you are able to cover the difference in tuition fees (only amounts up to EU fees are covered, but otherwise the studentship is the same). 


How to Apply

Non-clinical Applications

Application is made by submitting a CV and personal statement. Your personal statement should be no longer than 2 sides of A4. Your application should be emailed to wolfson-phd@ucl.ac.uk. Word documents or PDF files will be accepted. We require two files clearly labelled: SURNAME, FIRST NAME_CV and SURNAME, FIRST NAME_STATEMENT. No other documents will be accepted.

What should I include in my CV?
Undergraduate and/or Master's degrees, including results or expected results (if expected, please include marks from individual modules) 
Any relevant work experience
Any relevant voluntary research/clinical experience
Academic publications, conference presentations or posters
Academic prizes
Two academic referees (include name and email address); if shortlisted, we will contact your referees directly to collect references (THERE IS NO NEED TO CONTACT REFEREES YOURSELF. WE DO NOT NEED TO RECEIVE REFERENCE LETTERS BY THE CLOSING DATE.) 

What should I include in my personal statement?
You should not repeat the information presented in your CV but expand upon it.  Specifically you should address:
What you will bring to this programme
What you hope to learn
How a PhD in neurodegeneration will facilitate your career plans
Why this four year programme is attractive to you (as opposed to a standard three year programme) 

Closing date
Applications are now open for 2020/21 entry. Closing date Monday, 6 January, 2020, 23:59. 

We anticipate interviews will be held the week of 10 February. ONLY SHORTLISTED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONTACTED. 

All opportunities are advertised here and on findaphd.com. We anticipate there will be funding for up to three non-clinical fellowships this intake. 

Any queries regarding the application process should be emailed to wolfson-phd@ucl.ac.uk

Clinical Applications

Clinical fellowship opportunities are advertised via the UCL HR job vacancies pages. Positions for 2020/21 will be advertised soon and will have a similar closing date to the non-clinical fellowships. We anticipate there will be funding for up to two clinical fellowships this intake. 

Any queries regarding the application process should be emailed to wolfson-phd@ucl.ac.uk