Clinical Research Fellowships for 2021

Information for clinical student applicants for 2021 - Applications will open on 1st October 2020

Full details about the Clinical Research Fellowships that are available for 2021 are listed below. 

The CRUK Cambridge 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: ‘Advanced 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 two CRUK Major Centres, and Cambridge is hub for Early Detection and Precision Medicine.
  • 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 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 5 Clinical Research Training Fellowships for 2021 covering an exciting range of studies, mapped onto a subset of our Programmes, as listed below under PhD projects available for 2021.

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

We invite applications from UK, EU and non-EU students who have completed their clinical training. Please ensure you meet the entrance requirements and follow the application processes detailed below.

Clinical student applicants
The Clinical Research Training Fellowship scheme forms part of the CRUK Cambridge 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.

CRUK Cambridge Centre Clinical Research Training 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 £18,408 per year for 3 years).

Our Clinical Research Training Fellows are registered as students of the University of Cambridge (and are therefore subject to meeting the University of Cambridge entrance requirements) and will also hold an honorary contract with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This will require registration with the GMC so applicants should check their eligibility here.

CRUK Cambridge Centre Clinical Research Training Fellowships are based in a variety of laboratories across the CRUK Cambridge Centre, 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 CRUK Cambridge Centre, Clinical Research Training 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 Clinical Research Training 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 those 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.

The application deadline is 13 November 2020

PhD projects that available for 2021
Applications were welcomed for 2020 in 4 of our programmes: Early Detection, Haematological Malignancies, Pancreatic Cancer and Urological Malignancies. For 2021, the projects have not yet been finalised, but when they have been, they will appear below.

Applicants will choose their preferred project(s) and short-listed candidates will be invited to interview, at which their career intentions and preferred PhD project(s) will be discussed. Applicants can select up to two projects (a first and second choice) when applying.


The 2021 available projects will appear below in Summer 2020, but for now, here is a list of the projects that were available for 2020:

Early Detection Programme

Development of Engineered Silica-Affinity Biosensors for Prostate Cancer detection and monitoring
Supervisor: Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam
Second supervisors: Prof Lisa Hall
Laboratory location: Academic Urology Group & Institute of Biotechnology Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology

Visualising the tumour vascular microenvironment
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Bohndiek
Second supervisors:
Laboratory location: CRUK Cambridge Institute

Identification of Biomarkers by CRISPR/Cas9 for Targeting Senescence in Lung Cancer
Supervisor: Dr Daniel Munoz-Espin
Second supervisor: Dr Gary Doherty & Dr Masashi Narita
Laboratory location: Hutchison/MRC Research Centre

Understanding and implementing artificial intelligence technologies to improve skin cancer assessment in primary care settings
Supervisor: Dr Fiona Walter
Second supervisor: Prof Steve Morris
Laboratory location: The Primary Care Unit, Department of Public Health & Primary Care

Haematological Malignancies Programme

Characterisation and targeting of stroma-niches contributing to drug-resistance in B cell malignancies 
Supervisor: Dr Ingo Ringshausen
Second supervisor:
Laboratory location: Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre 

Trans-acting factors regulating c-myc mRNA
Supervisor: Dr Martin Turner
Second supervisor:
Laboratory location: Babraham Institute


Pancreatic Cancer Programme

Stromal Heterogeneity across Diverse Tumour Genetic Landscapes in Pancreatic Cancer
Supervisor: Dr Giulia Biffi
Second supervisor:
Laboratory location: CRUK Cambridge Institute

Dissecting tumour-immune interactions in pancreatic cancer
Supervisor: Dr Martin Miller
Second supervisor:
Laboratory location: CRUK Cambridge Institute


Paediatric Cancer Programme

Investigating the infectious aetiology of paediatric lymphoma
Supervisor: Dr Suzanne Turner
Second supervisor: Dr Amos Burke
Laboratory location: Addenbrookes hospital lab block level 3


Urological Malignancies Programme

SDHX-related Malignancies: A Clinical and Molecular Study
Supervisor: Prof Eamonn Maher
Second supervisor: Dr Ruth Casey
Laboratory location: Department of Medical Genetics

Using imaging modalities to track efficacy of anti-renal cell cancer immunotherapies in humanised mouse models
Supervisor: Dr Grant Stewart
Second supervisor: Mr Kourosh Saeb-Parsy & Dr Sarah Welsh
Laboratory location: Department of Surgery

Genetic dependencies in metastatic kidney cancer
Supervisor: Dr Sakari Vanharanta
Second supervisor: 
Laboratory location: MRC Cancer Unit


Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute w/c 11 January 2021.

You will be interviewed by a panel of Principal Investigators from the CRUK Cambridge 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 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.

Key dates
• The deadline for applications is 13th November 2020
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by late December 2020.
• Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview w/b 11th January 2021.
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome at the beginning of February 2020 and successful applicants will receive a formal letter of offer by mid-February 2021