Part time MRes + PhD in Cancer Biology for Clinician Scientists

Leukaemia cells (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Lucy Hare delivers talk

Applications are now closed

Course Information

The MRes for Clinician Scientists is offered by the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre (CRUK CC) as a part-time (24 months) course incorporating two long research placements with three short periods out of the lab; one week to undertake an intense taught course in cancer genomics, one week to attend ‘Transferable Skills’ sessions and the third week offering industry shadowing opportunities. There is also a 36 week course (1 lecture per week) covering general principles of cancer biology as well as insight into how cancers that arise at different sites differ.

The CRUK Cambridge Centre's innovative part-time MRes/PhD programme will train the cancer research leaders of the future across the widest possible range of disciplines, working together to make meaningful progress in this challenging and rewarding area.

The programme aims to introduce clinicians to research skills and specialist knowledge as well as a more general grounding in cancer biology. Its main aims are:

  • to give clinicians with relevant experience the opportunity to carry out focussed research in the discipline under close supervision; and
  • to give clinicians the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests; and
  • to give clinicians a broad grounding in both the theory of cancer genomic medicine and also more insight into cancer research in an industrial setting. 

The course does not provide salary, however makes use of the protected academic time allocated to NIHR Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs). As this academic time needs to fit around the course, it will require the support of the applicant’s Clinical and Academic Training Programme Director so that protected research time can be adapted to suit the MRes programme timetable and requirements.

At the end of the MRes/PhD programme, candidates will be prepared for a career at the forefront of clinical cancer research.  The course design reflects our belief that, for this to happen, students need a much deeper and broader knowledge of cancer biology and its relationship to the clinic, as well as a breadth of experience of experimental work to make an informed choice of research area. 

Successful completion of the MRes course, including assessment of rotation project write-ups and defense of a PhD proposal, will lead directly on to a 3 year PhD, usually in one of the rotation project host laboratories.
Applicants should be Academic Clinical Fellows whose salaries are being paid via the NIHR (or an alternative funder). Funding for MRes fees (staff rates) and consumables only is available from Cancer Research UK, via the CRUK Cambridge Centre. PhD funding (covering salary, staff fees and consumables) is available via the CRUK Clinical Research Training Fellow programme.

Applicants do not need to apply for funding through the University's funding system.

Sample projects:
  • Do small cell lung cancers exploit developmental mechanisms? 
Supervisor: Dr Emma Rawlins, Dept of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience 
  • Elucidating the role of Micropeptides in B cell lymphoma. 

Supervisor: Dr Dan Hodson, Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (Haematology) 

  • T cell synergy in anti-tumour responses.  

Supervisor: Dr Arianne Richard, Babraham Institute. 

FULL LIST OF PROJECTS 2024  * Projects marked with asterix are available as Part-Time Clinical MRes rotations

How to apply:

Applications must be made via the University of Cambridge Postgraduate Admissions website.  In addition to the application form, applicants must upload a personal statement, outlining why they are interested in the CRUK CC MRes+PhD studentships. The statement should be max 1000 words and include 1) What motivates you to choose this course? 2) Two research projects (see link on this page) you find interesting and why 3) Something about you and your life experience beyond your academic studies (The statement should be uploaded as a PDF to the online Applicant Portal in the Course Specific Questions section of the course application).

The deadline for applications is 15th November 2023.

If you have general enquiries about the CRUK Cambridge Centre MRes + PhD studentships for Clinician Scientists or the application process,

please contact