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Leeds Liverpool Newcastle Sheffield

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

Discovery Medicine North

Application overview

Thank you for your interest in DiMeN DTP PhD studentships, applications for October 2020 entry are now CLOSED.

Please find the information you need to apply below and a general guide to applying for PhD positions here.

How to apply

You are given the option to apply for up to three PhD projects available across the DiMeN DTP network, a full list of available projects is now available HERE.

From the experience of previous recruitment rounds, we encourage you fill in all three project choices and contact the lead supervisor for any project you wish to apply.   Please discuss the project and ask any questions, before filling in your online application.

Closing date was 6th January 2020. 

The application system is administered by The University of Sheffield on behalf of all our partner institutions, 30 studentships will be awarded for October 2020 entry. 

Please read these guidance notes carefully to maximise your chances of success.  Good luck!

What you will need to apply

Our application system asks for:

Sections B/C: Personal and contact details

Section D: Course specific questions (see below)

Sections E/F: Nationality, Residency and English Language qualifications              

Sections G/H: Details of previous education           

Section I: Employment History      

Section J: We require two academic or relevance work experience (eg, research placement supervisors, research/industry line managers) references. You will be asked to provide contact details for your referees who will be contacted automatically for references when you apply. In this section of the application, please select ‘email my referee a link to upload my reference.’

Sections K/L: Equal opportunities and any additional information

Section M: Personal supporting documents e.g. CV

Section D: Course Specific Questions

This is a very important part of the DiMeN application process.  Here you will be asked to select the three projects, in order of preference, that you would like to apply for. These will be used for the shortlisting process.

You will be asked to provide two short statements in support of your application.

1) A 250 word statement detailing your motivation for undertaking a PhD. You should include details of why you wish to pursue these particular areas of research/projects, your suitability to the specific research projects selected and, if applicable, your interest in collaborative research with a non-academic partner. Do not be afraid to let your passion shine through and mention any prior contact your have had with the supervisory team in preparing your application.  Our panel are looking to see you have understood what PhD study involves, have a mature attitude, a proactive approach and are motivated to succeed. The panel will not see which projects you have selected at this shortlisting stage, so if you have worked with selected supervisors before, you need to make that clear in at least one of the statements.

2) A 250 word statement detailing any research experience, research training or research skills you may have gained from your previous education or employment which are relevant to the  projects you wish to pursue. Please contact the lead supervisor to gain an understanding of the specific project skills requirements and show that you are suitability matched to the chosen projects.  

Additional notes

Section G: Please ensure you provide details of all University education here, including qualifications that are ongoing (such as an MSc).  If not yet awarded, it is a good idea to state your predicted grade in the section D statements and upload your latest transcript.

Section I: Use this section to highlight relevant employment only: research placements, work experience, internships, industry experience etc.  Please leave details of other types of employment (retail, catering, etc) within your CV and do not enter these here.

Section J: For your information, references will only be viewed after the shortlisting process (see below) and will be taken into account by the interview panel. Please make sure named references are aware that they will be contacted to support your application.

Section M: Please upload an up to date CV, this will only be viewed after the shortlisting process to help prepare the panel for interview. Anything you wish the panel to take into account when shortlisting must be stated in sections D, G and I.

What happens next?

Selection is a two stage process, after the closing date (6th January 2020) academic members of the DiMeN Management Board will review your application and shortlist candidates for interview. They will use the two supporting statements (section D), your educational background (section G/H) and relevant work experience (section I) ONLY in the shortlisting process. It is therefore vital these sections contain all the information you would like our panel to consider in making their decision.

In stage two, successfully shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview (5th or 6th February, in Sheffield). You are expected to arrange a meeting with your preferred primary supervisor before the interview takes place, supervisors will then provide the panel with feedback regarding your suitability to their project. Please note, project supervisors will not be on the central panel for this interview and you will be asked to give a presentation on a ‘scientific project’ of your choice, e.g. your undergraduate project, MSc project etc.

If successful at the interview stage, you will be recommended for a PhD position.  Those who rank highest after the interviews will be offered their first choice of project listed upon application, during previous rounds a number of students have been offered their second or third choices, which maximises the chances of gaining a PhD position within the DTP.


You must hold (or be about to obtain) a First or an Upper Second Class UK undergraduate degree or an equivalent degree from a recognised EU institution, in an area relevant to the projects you are applying for. Qualifications (or a combination of qualifications and experience) which demonstrate equivalent ability and attainment will also be considered. For example, a less than sufficient first degree may be enhanced to meet the requirements by the acquisition of a Distinction at Masters level or significant research experience gained from employment).

These studentships are available to UK and other EU nationals ONLY. For full details on eligibility, including residence requirements, please see the MRC website.  We are not currently accepting applications from overseas students.

Any queries, please contact the DiMeN DTP team:


Programme benefits

  • A breadth of bespoke training opportunities from single molecules to the patient
  • Join a community of 118 PhD students across the North of England for peer support throughout your PhD
  • Cutting edge technologies and state-of the-art facilities to deliver world-class results
  • Access to additional MRC funding and internship opportunities via our Flexible Supplement Award scheme