Home / PhD Studentships
MRS is migrating to a new online application management system designed to make submission as easy as possible.
MRS PhD Studentships provide funding for four year doctoral training programmes to be delivered by Scottish Universities or Research Institutions working in collaboration with industry. The awards, with their combination of academic, industrial and commercial experiences, give students excellent opportunities for their future careers.
Applications must be for a defined research project addressing a question of relevance to human health or disease. It must provide an academically stimulating PhD project as well as commercial experience. The student will undertake the PhD training programme offered by the Administering Institution (the University or Research Institution) – complemented by commercial training delivered by the collaborating company. MRS also provides a programme of career development and presentation events: the MRS Researcher Development Events (formerly called the MRS Commercial Training Programme).
We like to award 15 four year PhD Studentships each year. The awards provide a generous student stipend, doctoral programme fees at EU/UK level, consumables, a travel allowance and contributions to open access publication costs. Details of the current value of the awards will be posted soon!
Administering Institution researchers and collaborating companies should develop the project together. MRS is not involved in matching universities and companies.
The Administering Institution must be a recognised Scottish University or Research Institution in which the student will be matriculated and which will award the PhD degree.
There is no geographical requirement or restriction for the Company but it must be registered as a company in its place of origin.
There is no requirement or restriction on the subject or nature of the research, provided it addresses a question relevant to human health – the causation, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or the development of medical or surgical appliances, including hearing aids.
At least three supervisors are required per Studentship, these being a Principal and Second Supervisor from the Administering Institution and a Company Supervisor.
A Principal Supervisor can only hold one active MRS PhD Studentship, though they can apply as Principal Supervisor for a subsequent PhD Studentship to commence after the completion date of their current one. A Supervisor can be second supervisor on one or more PhD Studentships.
The Company is expected to make a valuable and meaningful contribution to the proposed research project, the specific nature of which will depend on the proposed project, but must be more than provision of commercially available reagents. It must provide a commercial training programme and offer experience of working in industry for the student. It is anticipated that the commercial training will be delivered at an operational base of the Company, though the extent of placements at, and remote interactions with, the company should be tailored to the nature of the project and collaboration. The arrangement should be to maximise the benefit to the student and project.
The Company must provide the following financial contribution to the Studentship.
The PhD Studentship Standard Conditions, to which applicants and awardees must agree, can be downloaded here.
It must be submitted by the Principal Supervisor through our online application management system (AMS).
After the Principal Supervisor has initiated the online application they will invite the other Supervisors to contribute to the application via the AMS.
Guidance and sample application forms will be posted soon!
The call for applications for the 2018 PhD Studentship call is now closed. Applications for the next call will open in summer 2019 with an anticipated closing date of September 2019.
Application Review Process
Applications are initially subject to independent review by the members of an expert peer review PhD Panel, comprising representatives from academia and industry, including at least two Trustees of Medical Research Scotland. The PhD Panel then meets in committee do discuss the applications and make an assessment of the applications.
Please note that the PhD Panel members’ scientific and medical expertise may lie in a different specialism to that of the proposed research, which should be taken in to consideration when completing the proposal: it is important to make the application understandable to scientifically literate but non-specialist reviewers.
Applications will be assessed on:
the quality and novelty of the science to be conducted;
the research questions asked;
the suitability of the project as an academically stimulating PhD project;
the clarity of the description of the research to be conducted;
the potential impact of the project on both the student and Scotland’s biomedical research base;
the experience of the supervisors – first-time supervisors are encouraged to apply but should show how they will be mentored and supported by their home institution in developing supervisory skills;
the training to be provided;
the commercial insight to be provided to the student by the company;
the opportunity for interaction of the student with the company; and
the resources available.
The Board of Trustees use the PhD Panel’s assessment of the applications when they make their final award decisions.
Principal Supervisors will be notified (via email through the AMS) of the outcome of their application and all parties to the PhD Studentship must accept the offer of award through the AMS.
Following acceptance, those awarded funding are required to select a suitable student to undertake the PhD Studentship. MRS will arrange for the PhD Studentships to be openly advertised via FindaPhD.com. Candidates must apply directly to the Administering Institution through their usual doctoral training programme recruitment system.
Eligibility criteria for candidates applying for appointment to a Studentship will be tailored to the individual projects, but the Trustees of Medical Research Scotland expect the appointed student to have been awarded a minimum of an upper second class undergraduate honours degree in a relevant subject.
Candidate interviews must be conducted in accordance with good recruitment practice. As a minimum, the interview Panel must comprise at least one of the supervisors from the Administering Institution, a representative from the company and an independent Panel Member from the Administering Institution with appropriate expertise in graduate recruitment.
MRS must be notified of the outcome of the student recruitment process and reserves the right to veto the decision of the Interview Panel, where there is justified reason.
International students may be appointed to the Studentship provided MRS is provided with evidence that they have funding from an alternative source to cover the difference between the EU/UK fee and international fee rate for the full duration of the PhD Studentship.
Salaries at clinician levels for clinicians carrying out a doctoral programme are not covered.
MRS organises a series of Researcher Development events for the PhD students providing career development talks and an opportunity for the students to learn about the work of their fellow MRS PhD students and network. These take place at least annually and student attendance is compulsory.
Throughout the term of the PhD Studentship, students and supervisors must submit reports on the progress being made. Reports are required at least annually. Funding for subsequent years of the PhD Studentship will not be released until the student has passed the Administering Institution’s internal annual student assessment and the annual MRS report has been scored as satisfactory by the Board of Trustees.
Reports for PhD Studentships awarded from 2019 onwards must be submitted through the AMS.
Report forms for pre-2019 PhD Studentship awardees can be downloaded here:
MRS will pay the annual student fees and stipend to the Administering Institution at the start of each year of the Studentship, provided the previous year’s annual report has been scored as satisfactory by the Board of Trustee.
The Administering Institution should submit fully itemised invoices quarterly in arrears for consumables, open access publication costs and travel expenses for attendance at conferences/events. All claims from the travel allowance component of the award should include an explanation of the purpose and relevance of the travel to the PhD Studentship. Payment of consumables and travel expenses cannot be made in advance.
Eamon Fitzgerald praises MRS on the scope of research it funds.
Here about Jennifer Clark’s project and her experiences as an MRS PhD student.
James Ozanne gives his views on Medical Research Scotland PhD Studentships and medical research.
George McCanney explains how a Medical Research Scotland PhD Studentship helps his career. Interviewed at the 2018 Meet the Researcher Showcase event.