2020 call for PhD studentship applications

We are pleased to invite applications for PhD studentships from candidates wishing to carry out research under one of our three priority themes: neuro-oncology, acquired brain and spinal cord injury, and headache and facial pain.

We would like to receive applications from prospective students - both clinical and non-clinical - planning to embark upon a PhD in Autumn 2021, focused on one of the three priority areas outlined below.  

The application deadline is 8am on Thursday 5th November 2020.


Research must be mechanism-based and hypothesis-driven, must address large unmet need, and demonstrate a clear pathway to clinical impact in one of the following three areas: 

  • Neuro-oncology. We want to fund research addressing the fundamental causes, mechanisms, diagnosis or treatment of primary tumours of the brain or spinal cord, and associated neurological complications.
  • Acquired brain and spinal cord injury. We want to fund 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.
  • Headache and facial pain. We want to fund research addressing the fundamental causes, diagnosis or treatment of headache and facial pain.


  • This call is open to prospective PhD students wishing to carry out research fitting the above remit, and planning to commence study towards a PhD at a recognised UK Higher Education Institute in Autumn 2021.
  • The application must be supported by the prospective supervisor(s).
  • We accept applications from those proposing to complete their PhD on a part-time basis.
  • There is no requirement for applicants to be from the UK, nor resident for any amount of time before the award begins, however we will provide student fees up to the UK/EU rate only. Students from outside the UK must have in place the appropriate visa to permit them to live and study in the UK.
  • Applicants must be available to attend for interview in London at their own cost.


The maximum award is £120,000 - including student stipend, fees at the UK/EU level, direct research costs, and conference/training costs. For clinical candidates, stipend can be used to support a salary at the appropriate clinical level, however the balance of funds will need to be obtained from other sources.

Application process

We expect the research proposal to be developed by the candidate, in collaboration with their proposed supervisor.

Applications will be reviewed and short-listed by the members of our Scientific Advisory Panel. They will consider the applicant's academic track record, previous research experience, and future academic potential as well as the merits of the research proposal.

Short-listed research proposals will the be subject to external peer review - and will be judged on scientific merit, originality, and the potential for impact.

Short-listed candidates will be invited for interview in January/ February 2021 with our Scientific Advisory Panel. Interviews are expected to take place in London but this will be kept under review in light of developments related to Covid-19.

Further details can be found in the guidance notes and other application documents, below:

Completed applications must be submitted by 8am on Thursday 5th November 2020.


Queries should be directed to Research Manager Katie Martin by email at katie.martin@brainresearchuk.org.uk or by telephone on 0117 909 4809.