CRUK International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED)

4-year MPhil + PhD studentships in Public Health or Social Sciences relating to the Early Detection of Cancer at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme

The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme is a multidisciplinary research initiative whose mission is to increase survival from cancer and improve quality of life through early detection and intervention. The Programme, based at the University of Cambridge, is a partner in the Cancer Research UK International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED); a unique, science-led £40M investment that will create new trans-atlantic collaborations and ideas that will transform the field. The Programme recognises the importance of public health research to explore the unmet need, strategies and impact of Cancer Early Detection, as well as the societal impact and ethics of work in this area (see here).

To support this work in Cambridge, ACED funding is available for non-clinical PhD students to be hosted at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care (DPHPC), the Department of History and Philosophy of Science or the Department of Social Anthropology. Students will join the cohort of PhD students being trained by the CRUK Cambridge Centre and will carry out cancer-related research in population health sciences or in social sciences. They will also become members of the active CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme, which offers regular training opportunities and networking events, and they will have the opportunity to attend an Early Detection Summer School.

The 4-year funding can be applied to a 1-year MPhil + 3 years PhD, with the MPhil being one of the existing programmes in the DPHPC (Epidemiology, Public Health or Primary Care Research) or in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine or in Social Anthropology Students applying who already have an equivalent degree or training could start the PhD directly without doing an MPhil.

Three fully-funded PhD studentships are available for non-clinical applicants, to commence in October 2020. Support includes a stipend at £19,000 per annum, research costs and fees at home/EU rates.

PhD project topics offered are:

  • Risk stratification in the bowel cancer screening programme: public acceptability and potential impact on uptake (Supervisor: Dr Juliet Usher-Smith).
  • Evaluation of risk-stratified approaches to breast cancer screening in the UK: health economic analysis and discrete choice experiment (Supervisors: Professor Antonis Antoniou and Professor Steve Morris)
  • Rare variants and cancer susceptibility & Sub clonal mosaicism, cancer therapy and susceptibility (Supervisor: Professor Doug Easton).
  • The ethics and epistemology of risk stratification (Supervisor: Dr Stephen John).

    The deadline for applications for these four projects is 15th November 2019.

  • Perceptions of cancer and competing hierarchies of risk among members of socially disadvantaged groups in the UK (Supervisor: Dr Maryon McDonald).

    The deadline for applications for the Social Anthropology project is 22nd November 2019.

How to apply
Applications, including a CV and a Reasons for Applying statement (2,500 character limit), must be made via the University of Cambridge Graduate Admissions website (please note that this is applying for an MPhil in Oncology but this will be changed to the preferred MPhil or PhD course in a specific department upon being successfully awarded a studentship). Applicants can state their preferred project of interest, if they so wish, and this should be clearly stated as part of your Reasons for Applying statement.


We invite applications from UK, EU and non-EU students for these non-clinical studentships. Please ensure you meet the University of Cambridge entrance requirements.


Interview and selection process
Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application via email by late December 2019.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a day of interviews at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on w/b 13th January 2020. 

You will be interviewed by a panel of Principal Investigators and you will be given the opportunity to visit the relevant department(s) or institute(s) for your project of interest. 

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


Key dates
• The deadline for applications is 15th November 2019
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by late December 2019.
• Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview w/b 13th January 2020.
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their interview at the beginning of February 2020 and successful applicants will receive a formal offer letter by mid-February 2020


If you have general enquiries about the CRUK Cambridge Centre non-clinical MRes + PhD studentships or the application process, please contact