Cambridge Cancer Centre PhD studentships 2017

Information for student applicants

APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED FOR 2017 ENTRY 

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 clinical and non-clinical students) for 2017 with projects covering an exciting range 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 applying as a non-clinical student please use the online application form on this page. If you are a clinical student you need to apply for a Clinical Research Training Fellowship via the University of Cambridge Job Opportunities website.

Applications have now closed for 2017 entry.

Non-clinical student applicants
The Cambridge Cancer Centre PhD studentships include full funding for the University Composition Fee (at Home/EU rate), a travel and consumables budget and a stipend, currently £19,000 per annum. In addition, the Cambridge Cancer Centre and the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust provide joint funding for one overseas PhD non-clinical student each academic year.

PhD projects available for 2017
Twenty projects are available to choose from, of which 10 may be funded, 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

Entrance requirements

We invite applications from UK, EU and non-EU students. 

Competition for admission to our graduate programme is intense and we require all our graduate entrants to meet the following requirements:

Academic
Already have, or expect to gain at least a 2i honours degree or an equivalent standard from an overseas university in a relevant subject. Please see the University of Cambridge Graduate Admission’s website in order to check the equivalence guidelines for qualifications in non-UK countries.

English language
Demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level. The University requires all applicants who are non-UK nationals to demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level before they begin their proposed course of study. Adherence to this requirement is strict. You must be able to demonstrate that you are able to communicate in English at a level and in an idiom suitable to the subject.

Whether or not you will need to take a language test will depend on a number of conditions; please see the University of Cambridge Graduate Admission’s website to check whether you will be required to take a language test.

Funding

Cambridge Cancer Centre PhD Studentships include full funding for the University Composition Fee (at Home/EU rate), a travel and consumables budget, and a stipend, currently £19,000 per annum.

How to apply

To apply for a Cambridge Cancer Centre PhD studentship, you will need to complete the following steps:

Step 1. Check that you meet the entrance requirements requirements:
You must already have or expect to gain at least a 2i honours degree or an equivalent standard from an overseas university in a relevant subject and fulfil the University’s English language conditions.

Step 2. Complete and submit the online CCC PhD Studentship application form for non-clinical students:
The application form includes the following sections, all of which must be completed:
• Select up to two projects (a first and second choice)
• Statement of interest 
• CV
• Contact details for two academic referees

Interview and selection process
Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application via email by 6 January 2017.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a day of interviews at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in the week commencing 16 January 2017. Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed.

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 PhD Studentship, 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 30 November 2016
• Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 6 January 2017.
• Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview wb 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

If you have general enquiries about the CCC non-clinical PhD studentships or the application process, please contact Katie.edwards@cruk.cam.ac.uk.