2019 studentship recipients announced
Our PhD studentship scheme is a vital part of our funding strategy and represents a crucial investment in the future of brain research. By nurturing the development of promising young researchers we are building much-needed capacity in our priority research areas.
We are delighted to announce that this year's awards have gone to Haya Akkad and Olivia Grech. These two outstanding scientists are now embarking upon their PhD research and we are looking forward to following their progress over the next three years, and beyond.
Selecting the most promising candidates
As usual, we received many more high quality applications this year than we could afford to fund. The members of our Scientific Advisory Panel have the difficult task of working through the applications to select the most promising candidates.
Short-listed applications are sent out to experts in the relevant fields of research in order to gain independent assessments of the proposed research, its feasibility, and the likelihood of achieving decisive results.
Candidates then come face to face with the Panel for the final stage of assessment, to present and discuss their project.
Haya Akkad: Boosting speech recovery after stroke
Haya Akkad was awarded a studentship to enable her to pursue research aimed at improving recovery in patients left with speech and language impairments after stroke.
Based at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and working with patients from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Haya will be exploring whether a form of non-invasive electrical brain known as tACS can boost the effects of speech and language therapy.
It is hoped that this proof-of-concept study will lead to a wider scale clinical trial to boost speech recovery in stroke patients. This has potential for great impact on patient well-being and quality of life.
Olivia Grech: Understanding headache in Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
Meanwhile, Olivia Grech will be pursuing research into the disabling headache disorder Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).
Working in one of the UK's leading headache labs, at the University of Birmingham, Olivia will be studying the underlying disease mechanisms and evaluating how these can be modified using existing drugs.
This will provide evidence for translation into much-needed IIH headache therapies.
Funding this work
We rely on the phenomenal generosity of our supporters to fund these studentships.
The amazing people who fundraise for us usually have a deeply personal motivation for doing so. People run marathons, climb mountains, bake cakes, host concerts, and do all manner of crazy things - because they know first hand how devastating neurological conditions can be and they want to be part of the solution.
If you would like to fundraise to help accelerate the pace of brain research, find out more here.
And if you would like to find out how to apply for funding under our studentship scheme, our 2019/20 call is now live.