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Leeds Liverpool Newcastle Sheffield

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

Discovery Medicine North

Call for Projects

The project call for cohort 5 studentships starting in October 2020 has now closed.  Thank you to everyone for your project applications, these are now under review by our academic panel.

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

Outcomes are expected after the next DiMeN DTP Management Board meeting on the 21st October 2019.



For information: 

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 studentship within the 2019 cohort as the primary supervisor. The only exception is full iCASE awards.
  • Projects must have two supervisors with complementary expertise. One of which is expected to have current and active grant funding from another source at the commencement of the PhD project (1st Oct 2020).
  • Projects must address the MRC Research and Innovation Priorities, and fit within DiMeN research areas
  • Projects must be designed to provide training in MRC strategic skill priority areas and be suitable for submission within 3.5 years

For the 2020 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 below) and projects with the potential to iCASE convert.  Interdisciplinary research and cross-institutional partnerships are also welcomed. 


Application process

Once submitted, proposals will be evaluated and scored by a cross-institutional, academic panel of DiMeN Management Board members against the following equally weighted criteria.

  • Excellence and novelty of the research project
  • How the MRC DTP student would add value to current research
  • How the project will address MRC strategic skills priorities 
  • How the project will address MRC Research and Innovation priorities 
  • Quality and engagement of the supervisory team, including strength of publications in the relevant field and training offer
  • Quality and strength of non-academic partnerships and collaborations

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.

If successful, we will request a student facing abstract and advertise your PhD project via the FindAPhD platform and local website from November 2019 until early January 2020.  Student recruitment is centralised, our Management Board shortlist and interview the candidates.  Supervisors provide feedback on shortlisted applicants, which is taken into account in the final selection process. 

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

Non-academic/company partners 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 defined as companies with a staff headcount of ‚Äčless than 250 and a turnover not exceeding €50m AND/OR a balance sheet total not exceeding €43m.

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