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Leeds Liverpool Newcastle Sheffield

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

Discovery Medicine North

Call for Projects

The DiMeN Management Board are very pleased to announce that our Doctoral Training Partnership as received a two year extension in MRC scholarship funding for Oct 2019 and 2020 cohort intakes.

The project call for studentships starting in October 2019 has now closed.  Projects submitted for 2019 entry are currently under review by our academic panel, outcome will be announced at the end of November. 

If you have any queries about future project calls please contact the DiMeN DTP Manager, Dr Emily Goodall: 


Project requirements and supervisor eligibility criteria

  • Only submit one project as the primary supervisor
  • The primary supervisor must be located within a partner institution (University of Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle or Liverpool) and not have received a DiMeN student within the 2018 cohort as the primary supervisor. The only exception is for iCASE awards, 2018 primary supervisors are eligible to apply for iCASE funding with an industrial partner
  • Projects must have two supervisors with complementary expertise, one is expected to have a current MRC Research/ Programme Grant or equivalent funding from a recognised agency funding medical research (e.g. Wellcome Trust, BHF, CRUK). 
  • Projects must address MRC Strategic Research Priorities and fit within DiMeN research areas
  • Projects must be designed to provide training in MRC strategic skill priority areas and suitable for submission within 3.5 years

For the 2019 round of studentships we would like to emphasise the importance of non-academic partners and collaborative projects with industry as a strategic priority for the DTP.  The management board strongly encourage iCASE project applications (see non-academic partner responsibilities below) and projects with the potential to iCASE convert, these will be favoured in the selection process.  Interdisciplinary research and cross-institutional partnerships are also welcomed but not essential.  We have a number of associate partner organisations who can offer a range of expertise and the potential for collaborative research endeavors.   

Academic supervisors will be expected to engage with the work of the DTP and to contribute to the training of DTP cohort students through participation in workshops, sharing of expertise, seminars and online sessions. 

Project selection process

Proposals will be evaluated and scored by a cross-institutional panel against the following equally weighted criteria.

1.    Excellence and novelty of the research project

2.    How the MRC DTP student would add value to current research

3. How the project will address MRC strategic skills priorities (

4. How the project will address MRC and Government Industry strategy (

5.   Quality and engagement of the supervisory team, including strength of publications in the relevant field and training offer

6.   Quality and strength of non-academic partnerships will be considered where appropriate

Following a local, light touch review to ensure projects fit MRC DiMeN remit and supervisory teams are suitable, the centralised academic panel will be blinded to supervisor names and host institution.  This is to eliminate bias and ensure the best projects are selected for advertisement to students.  The DiMeN DTP does not allocate a set number of projects per institution and projects are scored on merit according to the above criteria.  We advertise more project opportunities than we can support within the funding envelope and this is a competitive process. As an example, in the 2018 project call we received 136 project applications, 67 were selected for advertisement to students and 30 funded.

Student selection process

Students choose up to three DiMeN projects upon application to the DiMeN DTP in order of preference.  Our academic panel blindly score and shortlist student applicants, the top 50 will be  interviewed by the DiMeN Management Board.  Supervisors are provided with full application details of each shortlisted candidate who selects their project and asked to provide the interview panel with detailed feedback regarding student suitability to your project. In our experience, engaging with potential students at this stage is very important and increases the chances of gaining a DTP student.

The final selection of supported project/student combinations will be made on the basis of student quality by the DiMeN Management Board.


Benefits of DiMeN DTP studentships

Financial support: Full home/EU fees and stipend (UKRI standard rate) for 3.5 years, £4125 per year Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and £300 per year travel/conference allowance

Students can access flexible supplement funds for high quality external training, lab or industry research placements, internships or transition to first post-doc position (

Additional funding is available for visits and placements across our partners institutions to encourage collaboration and sharing of expertise within the DiMeN community

Students access tailored, cohort training events including “Meet the Editors”, “Media and Impact” and “Bench to Bedside”. See this link for more details:

Students and supervisors are part of a vibrant community of researchers across our partner institutions

iCASE: Non-academic partner responsibilities

Whilst the MRC appreciates that it may sometimes be difficult to ensure the financial stability of a company three or four years hence, at the time of commitment to the studentship, companies should have strong regulatory, supervisory and other policies in place to ensure the continuity of the studentship. Changes during the studentship should be notified to the MRC immediately.

As a measure of its interest and commitment, the non-academic/company partner must make a specific, identifiable contribution to the research training of the student. In addition to the contribution to the research training of the student, the company’s contribution must include:

1. An annual cash contribution to the academic partner towards the cost of the project of at least £1400 per annum, for the period during which research data are being collected and analysed – a minimum of 80% of the approved length of the studentship;

2. A mandatory cash payment of at least £2500 per annum as a supplement to the stipend for the entire length of the studentship award.

3. A cumulative period of no less than three months spent working in the facilities of the industrial collaborator. This 3 month period can be at any point during the studentship and may consist of a number of shorter visits if appropriate.

4. The company’s costs while the student is working at the premises of the company.

5. All additional expenses, such as the cost of travel and accommodation incurred by the student as a direct result of attendance at the premises of the cooperating body. MRC may agree to vary any of the above stipulations provided that the case is made in the application.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are NOT required to make the contributions under bullet 1 and 2 above as these will be met by the DiMeN DTP. SMEs are companies that meet the definition included in Recommendation 1996/280/EC of a small to medium size enterprise (SME) i.e. the enterprise must have a staff headcount of ‚Äč

UK-based organisations can be considered as the non-academic partner if they can provide students with distinctive research training and experience not available in an academic setting. Organisations eligible for UKRI funding (such as NHS Trusts) cannot act as a non-academic partner. Where the non-academic partner is a company, it must have an established UK based research and/or commercial production capability. In exceptional cases, organisations based overseas may be eligible, but only where they can provide the student with an opportunity to gain skills not currently available in the UK