CCC Clinical Research Fellowships 2017

Information for student applicants


The Cambridge Cancer Centre is a dynamic collaboration of academic researchers, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries based in the Cambridge area. We combine world-class science and technology with excellent patient care to pioneer new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. By working together across different disciplines, we are breaking down the barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science.

More than 600 laboratory researchers and physicians are united through a 12 programme structure that brings together investigators working on: Aerodigestive, Breast, Haematological, Brain, Ovarian, Paediatric, Pancreatic and Urological cancers. An additional four programmes focus on: ‘Cancer Imaging’ to promote our world-leading expertise in laboratory and clinical imaging research; ‘Cell and Molecular Biology’, to engage our colleagues working in all aspects of biology relevant to cancer; ‘Early Detection’ to support this special area of research emphasis in our CRUK Major Centre; and ‘Onco-Innovation’ to provide a collaboration point for our colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry (e.g., AstraZeneca, Medimmune) as well as members from University departments in the physical sciences.  

This extensive research effort is supported by a state-of-the-art research environment that includes:

  • World-class research facilities for basic and clinical research
  • Nationally and internationally recognised centres of excellence – the Cambridge Centre is one of only three CRUK Major Centres, and Cambridge is hub for the Precision Medicine Catapult by Innovate UK.
  • Outstanding opportunities for translational research – the wealth of basic research across the Centre is fuelling major efforts to translate fundamental scientific discoveries to benefit patients with cancer.  

One of the main principles of the Cambridge Cancer Centre is the open exchange of scientific knowledge and skills across the many disciplines involved in cancer science, creating a culture of continuous learning and development for all members. In keeping with this aim, the Centre also supports a broad programme of formal education and training designed to nurture the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians. We will fund up to 10 PhD studentships (including up to 5 Clinical Research Training Fellowships) for 2017 with projects covering an exciting range of studies, as listed below.

By being part of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, students will also have the opportunity to attend a number of lecture series, workshops and meetings aimed at facilitating and strengthening collaborations between complimentary disciplines and across different departments and institutes.

We invite applications from UK, EU and non-EU students from non-clinical or clinical disciplines. Please ensure you meet the entrance requirements and follow the application processes detailed below.

If you are a clinical student you need to apply for a Cambridge Cancer Centre Clinical Research Training Fellowship via the University of Cambridge Job Opportunities website. If you are a non-clinical student apply online here.

For both non-clinical and clinical applicants the application deadline is 30 November 2016. Applications have now closed for 2017 entry.

Clinical student applicants
The Clinical Research Fellowship scheme forms part of the Cambridge Cancer Centre’s ‘Integrated Academic Training Programme’, as defined by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This means that training is tailored to equip translational scientists with the skills and experience they need to progress in their combined research and clinical careers.

Cambridge Cancer Centre Clinical Research Fellowships are financed by Cancer Research UK and provide clinicians with funds to cover a full-time 3 year PhD degree. This includes a clinical salary and University Composition Fees at the ‘UK/EU’ rate (*overseas applicants may apply, and will usually be eligible to apply for the reduced staff University Composition Fee (UCF), which is one third of either the full- or part-time Home Student UCF, for all qualifying students, irrespective of whether they are classified as UK, EU or Overseas. Successful international applicants would be required to apply for the reduced staff UCF via their host department, and if they are not eligible they may be required to self-fund the cost difference between Overseas and UK/EU fees; this is approximately £17,478 per year for 3 years).

Our Clinical Research Fellows are registered as students of the University of Cambridge and may also hold an honorary contract with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This will require registration with the GMC and applicants should check their eligibility here.

The fellowships are based in a variety of environments, such as University of Cambridge Departments, various sites on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and well known research institutes within Cambridge.

By being part of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, Clinical Research Fellows will have the potential to work with outstanding clinicians and academics; develop collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies; have access to state-of-the art research facilities; and the opportunity to attend numerous lecture series, workshops and meetings aimed at facilitating and strengthening collaborations between different disciplines and across different departments and institutes. 

Application and selection process
We invite applications from highly motivated and talented clinicians (UK, EU and non-EU* see above condition for overseas applicants) who have the potential to pursue a career as an academic clinician.

Submitting your application

To apply online for a CCC Clinical Research Fellowship and to view further information about the application process, please visit the University's Job Opportunities page. 

This will take you to the listing on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. There you will need to click on the 'Apply online' button and register an account with the University's Web Recruitment System (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please ensure that you upload a CV and statement of interest (this should include up to two project choices - a first and second choice - from the 20 listed below as well as confirming your eligibility to practice) in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents that have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

For both non-clinical and clinical applicants the application deadline is 30 November 2016. Applications have now closed for 2017 entry.

PhD projects available for 2017
Twenty projects are available to choose from, of which 10 may be funded (including up to 5 Clinical Research Training Fellowships), supporting the top 10 student applicants. Applicants can select up to two projects (a first and second choice) when applying. Each of the project titles below links to a pdf giving an outline of the project. For further information you are encouraged to study the website of the Lead Investigator, and Co-Investigators where applicable.

Investigating the role of hypoxia inducible factor signalling in renal cancer driven by FH and/or SDH mutation
Urological Malignancies Programme
Lead Investigator: Margaret Ashcroft, Department of Medicine
Co-Investigator: Christian Frezza, MRC Cancer Unit

A quantitative understanding of clonal evolution in blood to better detect blood cancers
Early Detection Programme
Lead Investigator: Jamie Blundell, Department of Oncology

Investigating the role of FAM109A/CCSER1 in cell division and oesophageal cancer
Cellular and Molecular Biology Programme
Lead Investigator: Pier Paolo D’Avino, Department of Pathology
Co-Investigator: Rebecca Fitzgerald, MRC Cancer Unit, Hutchison MRC Research Centre

Regenerative and oncogenic programmes for the therapeutic treatment of chronic liver fibrosis and liver cancer
Cellular and Molecular Biology Programme

Lead Investigator: Gerard Evan, Department of Biochemistry

Succinate dehydrogenase and exosomes in gastrointestinal stromal tumours
Aerodigestive Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: Olivier Giger, Department of Pathology 

Functional PET/MR in triple-negative or BRCA mutation breast cancer
Cancer Imaging Programme
Lead Investigator: Fiona Gilbert, Department of Radiology
Co-Investigator: Jean Abraham, Breast Theme, Department of Oncology

Developing novel image fusion registration for targeted biopsies for early prostate cancer detection
Urological Malignancies Programme
Lead Investigator: Vincent Gnanapragasam, Academic Urology Group, Department of Surgery and Oncology
Co Investigators: Carola-Bibiane Schoenlieb, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Professor J Aston, Professor of Statistics, Statistical Laboratory
Dr Graham Treece, Reader in Information Engineering, Department of Engineering

Translational profiling and network analysis in aggressive B cell lymphomas
Haematological Malignancies Programme
Lead Investigator: Daniel Hodson, Department of Haematology
Co-Investigator: Shamith Samarajiwa, MRC Cancer Unit            

Characterisation of disordered metabolism in the stem cell niche during leukaemia evolution
Haematological Malignancies Programme
Lead Investigator: Brian Huntly, Department of Haematology
Co-Investigator: Simon Mendez-Ferrer, Department of Haematology

The role of hypoxic response via HIF transcription in modulating immunotherapeutic success
Onco-Innovation Programme
Lead Investigator: Randall Johnson, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Clinical mutations in HUWE1: deficiency in the DNA damage response and links to cancer
Cellular and Molecular Biology Programme
Lead Investigator: Svetlana Khoronenkova, Department of Biochemistry

Investigating the role of cell cycle control by Fbxo7 in the development of T-cell malignancies
Paediatric Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: Heike Laman, Department of Pathology
Co-Investigator: Suzanne Turner, Department of Pathology

Elucidation of Cell Fate Transitions in Lung Cancer Stem Cells
Aerodigestive Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: Joo-Hyeon Lee, Wellcome Trust – MRC Stem Cell Institute and Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
Co-Investigator: Benjamin D Simons, Gurdon Institute, Department of Physics

Interplay between cellular senescence and plasticity at the origin of lung cancer
Early Detection Programme
Lead Investigator: Daniel Muñoz-Espín, Department of Oncology

Personalized molecular classifications for high grade serous ovarian cancer
Ovarian Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: Paul Pharoah, Strangeways Research Laboratories
Co Investigator: James Brenton, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

Cell cycle regulation of differentiation in the paediatric cancer, neuroblastoma
Paediatric Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: Anna Philpott, Dept of Oncology/Hutchison-MRC Research Centre/Stem Cell Institute

Exploiting the p53 axis for therapy in paediatric low-grade glioma
Neurobiology and Brain Cancer Programme
Lead Investigator: David Rowitch, Stem Cell Institute, Department of Paediatrics                        

Genetic and biochemical approaches to investigate tyrosine phosphatase signalling in cancer
Cellular and Molecular Biology Programme
Lead Investigator: Hayley Sharpe, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research/Clinical Biochemistry 

On cancer therapy: Disruption of the METTL3-METTL14 interaction with small molecules
Onco-Innovation Programme
Lead Investigator: Gonçalo Bernardes, Department of Chemistry
Co-Investigator: Tony Kouzarides, The Gurdon Institute

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute wc 16 January 2017.

You will be interviewed by a panel of Principal Investigators from the Cambridge Cancer Centre and you will be given the opportunity to visit the relevant department(s) or institute(s) for your selected project. We strongly encourage informal interaction between short-listed candidates and the Principal Investigators and their laboratories before the formal interview.

Following your interview you will be informed of the outcome via email.

If you are successful in securing a CCC Clinical Research Training Fellowship, you will receive a letter of offer informing you that you will now need to apply formally for admission as a PhD student to the University of Cambridge. PhD applications are made using an online Graduate Student Application Form (GRADSAF) and all relevant application details will be provided in the letter of offer. Full information about how to apply for a PhD place at the University can be found on the University’s Graduate Admissions website.

If you have general enquiries about the CCC non-clinical PhD studentships or the application process, please contact

Key dates
• The deadline for applications is 30 November 2016
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 6 January 2017.
• Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview wc 16 January 2017.
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome at the beginning of February 2017 and successful applicants will receive a formal letter of offer by mid-February 2017