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New PhD studentship awards announced


Every year, we invite applications for PhD studentships from candidates proposing to pursue research in one of our priority research areas: neuro-oncology, acquired brain and spinal cord injury, and headache and facial pain. We are pleased to announce the recipients of the two Brain Research UK PhD studentships awarded in 2019.

Research leaders of the future

The two new Brain Research UK PhD students – Haya Akkad and Olivia Grech – embark on their PhDs this Autumn.

Whilst each research project is important in its own right, equally important is that we are nurturing the development of promising young scientists,  who we hope will go on to develop long and illustrious careers in these under-researched and under-resourced fields.

Haya Akkad, University College London

Haya Akkad PhD student at UCL Institute of Neurology aims to improve speech recovery in stroke patients

Haya has been awarded a Brain Research UK PhD studentship to enable her to pursue research aimed at improving recovery of speech in stroke patients. She will be testing whether a form of non-invasive electrical brain stimulation can boost recovery when paired with speech and language therapy.

Haya already has a wealth of experience in this field of research and will be working in an outstanding research environment at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, jointly supervised by Professor Jenny Crinion and Professor Sven Bestmann.

If successful, her research could lead to a wider-scale clinical trial on the use of brain stimulation as an adjunct to neurorehabilitation to boost recovery in chronic stroke patients.

Find out more about Haya's research

Olivia Grech, University of Birmingham

Olivia Grech PhD student at University of Birmingham is researching the headache disorder intracranial idiopathic hypertension

Olivia has been awarded a Brain Research UK PhD studentship to enable her to pursue research into the disabling headache disorder Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). This is a condition that is increasing in incidence and has been overlooked for decades. New approaches to treatment are desperately needed.

Olivia is aiming to shed light on the mechanisms underlying IIH, to help identify possible new treatments. She will be supervised in this important and ambitious project by Professor Alex Sinclair and Professor Gareth Lavery.

Her project is a perfect fit with her ambition to work in the field of headache and neuroscience and her research experience, combined with the excellent training opportunities, resources and rich mix of clinicians and basic scientists working in the lab, will help ensure successful completion of this project, and her PhD.

Find out more about Olivia's research

Looking for PhD funding?

Brain Research UK PhD studentships are open to both clinical and non-clinical candidates, providing funding of up to £120,000 over three to four years - to cover fees (UK/EU rate), stipend, and research expenses.

We will consider applications from those proposing to carry out mechanism-based research that addresses areas of large unmet need and demonstrates a clear pathway to clinical impact in one of our three priority research areas: acquired brain and spinal cord injury, neuro-oncology, and headache and facial pain.

Our 2019/20 call for applications for PhD studentships is now closed. The next call, to be launched in the summer of 2020, will be for candidates wishing to embark on a PhD in Autumn 2021.

Find out more: Our research priorities | Apply for funding