PhD

Biological Science — Sanger Institute

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 29.7k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 56.4k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Dec 1, 2021
StudyQA ranking:354 Duration:4 years

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Students apply to the programme rather than to specific Faculty members, and spend the first eight months of the programme undertaking three rotation projects in different research groups. This ensures exposure to different disciplines in genomics, and allows the students to gain a better overall picture of the scientific nature of the Institute and the different technologies that are available. In particular, all students are required to carry out at least one informatics rotation and one experimental laboratory rotation. This helps students to develop wide ranging skills both at the bench and in data analysis. Students are required to write a short report or prepare a poster and make a presentation to the group at the end of each project. Selection of the final PhD project laboratory is by mutual consent between the student and supervisor and takes place during the third rotation period.

Monitoring of each student's progress is achieved through the submission of a project report or the preparation of a poster for each rotation, their first year report and by thesis committee meetings which take place every 6 months.

During their PhD, students are expected to attend training courses in transferable and general research skills, participate in the students' journal club, present their work regularly and attend seminars.

Students offered one of our 4-year PhD programme funded studentships will obtain full financial support, including University tuition fees, regardless of nationality. There will be 12 funded studentships available across all our research areas. Since Sanger Institute studentships are extremely competitive, we also encourage you to seek your own funding. Any students with their own funding should still apply to the 4-year PhD Programme in the usual way.

Supervision and monitoring

Each student has a PhD supervisor from within the Institute's Faculty who provides day-to-day supervision of their research. They also benefit from a co-supervisor (external adviser), selected from the University of Cambridge, who works in a similar or complementary discipline and meets regularly with the student.

Graduate students at the Institute are monitored and managed by the Committee of Graduate Studies, which meets monthly, together with support from dedicated administrative personnel. Monitoring of each student's progress is achieved through the submission of a project report/poster for each rotation, their first year report and thesis committee meetings which take place every six months.

The thesis committee, which consists of the primary supervisor, the co-supervisor (external adviser) and one or two Sanger Institute Faculty members, primarily serves as a scientific advisory board for the student throughout their PhD work. Its function is to offer comments, advice and support to the student in order to ensure that the thesis can be completed in an appropriate time frame and with the best possible output. In addition to the student's own research group, the thesis committee provides an independent forum for scientific discussion.

Students are expected to complete their research and submit their thesis within the time frame of the award. At this point each student must give a formal Sanger Institute seminar.

Training opportunities

Students on our 4-year PhD Programme are expected to attend training courses in transferable and general research skills such as:

  • Health and safety training
  • Graduate lecture series (approx 40 lectures by Sanger and European Bioinformatics Institute Faculty)
  • Basic Unix
  • Python programming
  • Bioinformatics courses and workshops
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Basic and applied statistics
  • Research integrity and ethics workshops
  • Presentation skills
  • Scientific writing skills
  • Communication and public engagement workshop

A wide range of courses are also run on site for which students are eligible. As members of the University of Cambridge, students have access to lecture courses run by University departments, courses run by the Graduate School of Life Sciences and to University facilities such as the library and the careers service. There is also an excellent library on site at the Institute.

There is a fortnightly journal club which all students, except those in their final year, are expected to attend, and students are expected to participate in the programme of journal clubs and research talks within their own research division.

There is a very active academic seminar programme on site. Also students have the opportunity to meet and have informal discussions over lunch with speakers in our Distinguished Lecture Series. In addition, relevant seminar programmes within the University are widely advertised, and students are encouraged to attend.

All students have the opportunity to present their work regularly to their group. Approximately half way through their research, students have to present their work at a PhD Student Presentations Day. In the final year, once students have submitted their thesis, they are required to present their work at a Sanger Institute seminar. In addition, students are encouraged to present their work at both national and international scientific meetings, and we provide up to £1000 per year to enable them to attend such meetings.

Students at the Institute are encouraged to organise their own events such as the  EBI-Sanger Cambridge PhD Symposium (eSCAMPS). This meeting brings together students from the whole Cambridge area and gives them the opportunity to present their work to their peers and listen to a number of world renowned keynote speakers. Organising such a meeting (liaising with speakers, seeking sponsorship, managing logistical arrangements etc) allows the students involved to develop their networking, communication and management skills.

  • Candidates are expected to hold, or be about to achieve, a 1st or 2:1 class degree or an  equivalent overseas qualification.If overseas (non-UK, non-EU) applicants, who have not studied in a EU country, have GRE scores, they should include them in their application, as the results from this standardised test enable us to more easily compare applicants from different countries.
  • Outline any relevant work experience (max 200 words)
  • Choose 3 Faculty members whose research area interests you (see our Faculty pages for information on Faculty members and their research areas)
  • Outline your research interests and indicate how these fit with the research interests of the Sanger Institute (max 200 words)
  • Write a personal statement on your research experience, research interests and career goals, explaining why you wish to pursue graduate training at the Sanger Institute (max 400 words)
  • Provide details of two academic referees
  • IELTS (Academic) 7.5
  • TOEFL Internet Score 110
  • Upload your University transcript(s) (and GRE scores if available) as a PDF file

Our funded studentships provide full financial support, including University tuition fees, regardless of nationality. Current tax-free stipends paid by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute are shown below.

Financial support as of October 2016

Year

Stipend

1st year

£19,919 p.a.

2nd year

£21,542 p.a.

3rd year

£23,298 p.a.

4th year

£23,997 p.a.

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