NOW OPEN: Call for PhD studentship applications

Deadline Wednesday 13th November 2019

Brain Research UK PhD studentships are intended to enable outstanding graduates to gain the necessary skills and training to set them on course for the development of an independent career in research relating to one of our three priority areas: acquired brain and spinal cord injury; neuro-oncology; and headache and facial pain.

The studentships are open to candidates who plan to commence study towards a PhD at a recognised UK Higher Education Institution in Autumn 2020.

They are open to both clinicians and non-clinicians, and provide funding of up to £120,000 for three to four years. Applications from those wishing to work towards a PhD on a part-time basis are accepted. 

The submission deadline is 8am on Wednesday 13th November 2019.


We are interested in mechanism-based research that addresses areas of large unmet need and demonstrates a clear pathway to clinical impact in one of the following areas:

Acquired brain and spinal cord injury
Research to advance understanding of how to deliver interventions that promote recovery at the level of impairment in people with acquired brain or spinal cord damage. This may be through behavioural interventions, enhancement of plasticity mechanisms, or both.

Research addressing the fundamental causes, mechanisms, diagnosis or treatment of primary tumours of the brain or spinal cord, and associated neurological complications.

Headache and facial pain
Research addressing the fundamental causes, mechanisms, diagnosis or treatment of headache and facial pain.

Research projects must be hypothesis-driven and must represent an area of research that applicants intend to further develop in their future careers. 


PhD studentships are for three to four years and include stipend, institutional fees, training costs, project research costs and conference-related costs. We will accept applications from students wishing to complete their PhD part-time over a longer period. 

The stipend is fixed at £16,000 per annum (£17,500 in London, pro-rata for part-time students), increasing at £500 per annum. For clinical candidates, the stipend can be used to support a salary at the appropriate clinical level but the balance of funds will need to be obtained from other sources.

Fees are capped at the UK/EU level.

The total award is capped at £120,000.


  • The call is open to prospective PhD students wishing to carry out research in one of the three priority areas described above. 
  • The call is open to students who plan to commence study towards a PhD at a recognised UK Higher Education Institution in Autumn 2020.
  • Candidates who are already working towards their PhD are not eligible to apply.
  • There is no requirement for students to be from the UK, nor resident for any amount of time before the award begins, however we will fund student fees up to the UK/EU rate only.
  • Applicants must be available for interview in London at their own cost.

Application process

Applications must be submitted by the prospective student, using the downloadable application form below.

The applicant must provide details of the host laboratory, the proposed project and supervisor. The supervisor(s) must complete the separate supervisor form.

Applications will be considered on the basis of the applicant’s academic track record, how the proposed PhD research fits in with the applicant’s overall clinical training plans where applicable, previous research experience and future academic potential. Research projects will be judged on scientific merit, originality and the closeness of fit with the remit of this call.

The track record of the supervisor and the suitability of the research environment will also be taken into account.

Applicants will be short-listed by the Brain Research UK Scientific Advisory Panel, with short-listed candidates invited to interview in January/February 2020.

Short-listed applications will undergo external peer review.

Please download and use the following documents for your application:
• A. Application form (Word document)
• B. Supervisor form (Word document)
• C. Referee nomination form (Word document)
• Application guidance notes (PDF)
• Terms and conditions of funding (PDF) (for reference, not to be submitted with your application)

If you have difficulty with any of the application documents, or any other queries, please email or telephone Katie on 0117 909 4809