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PhD studentship projects
Main Recruitment Round, October 2019

We’re searching for the brightest minds in cancer research.
Applications for our main PhD recruitment round are now open.

Applications for PhDs are invited from talented graduates or final year undergraduates. Candidates should hold, or, expect to gain either;

  • A first, or, upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
  • A masters degree in a relevant subject.

Successful candidates will undertake a four-year research training programme under the guidance of a supervisory team of our world-class researchers, starting in October 2020. Students receive an annual stipend, currently £21,000 per annum, as well as having fees and project costs paid for the four-year duration. 

We are currently recruiting for 24 projects. These are listed below by relevant funding body with details of the supervisory team and project site(s). Please review the project proposals for a detailed look at the work involved in each project, any specific focus or training experience provided, and the background(s) suited to application. 

Details of how to apply are explained at the end of the project list at the bottom of this page.

Important dates:

  • Applications for our main PhD recruitment round open on Friday 18 October 2019
  • You need to complete and submit your application by 11.55pm UK time on Sunday 17 November 2019
  • Applicants must be available for interview on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 January 2020


The ICR and Cancer Research UK Centre funded studentships

The Cancer Research UK Centre is a strategic partnership between Cancer Research UK, the ICR and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust which aims to enhance translational research.

These studentships are open to all applicants (including overseas). Please read our entry requirements for further eligibility information.


1) Structure and molecular function of the DREAM complex in gene expression programs of cellular quiescence

  • Application menu title: Structure and function of the DREAM complex in cellular quiescence
  • Primary supervisor: Dr Claudio Alfieri
  • Other members of the supervisory team: To be decided
  • Primary division and team: Structural Biology, Molecular mechanisms for cell cycle regulation
  • Project area(s): Biological Sciences

View project proposal

2) Novel probes for investigating the tumour microenvironment and tissue targeting

View project proposal

3) A fragment-based approach to identify protein-protein interaction inhibitors of Shelterin complex assembly

View project proposal

4) Defining replication mechanisms at the telomere end

  • Application menu title: Defining replication mechanisms at the telomere end
  • Primary supervisor: Dr Max Douglas
  • Other members of the supervisory team: To be decided
  • Primary division and team: Cancer Biology, Telomere Biology
  • Project discipline(s): Biological Sciences

View project proposal

5) Conformational switches of AXIN in Wnt/Beta-catenin signalling

View project proposal

6) Enhancement of radiation induced cell death using ultrasound stimulated microbubbles

View project proposal

7) Integrative computational analysis of molecular and clinical data to dissect heterogeneity of therapy response in sarcomas

 View project proposal

8) Evolutionary dynamics of MEK inhibitor sensitivity and resistance in diffuse midline glioma

View project proposal

9) Understanding the homeostatic response to DNA repair inhibitors in breast cancer

View project proposal 

10) Winners versus Losers: Harnessing Cell Competition to kill tumour cells

View project proposal

11) Systematic investigation of the mechanisms of replication fork protection, towards novel therapeutic strategy

View project proposal 

12) Advanced functional MRI for the characterisation of paediatric glioma and its response to therapy

View project proposal

13) Functional characterisation of DNA damage response deficiency in cancer

  • Application menu title: Characterisation of DNA damage response deficiency in cancer
  • Primary supervisor: Dr Anderson Wang
  • Other members of the supervisory team: Dr Olivia Rossanese
  • Primary division and team: Cancer Therapeutics, Target biology and genomic instability
  • Project area(s): Biological Sciences

 View project proposal



CRUK and ICR funded studentships


14) Leveraging state-of-the-art methods in Artificial Intelligence and medical imaging for automated response evaluation and prediction of soft-tissue sarcomas to systemic treatment. 

View project proposal


CRIS Cancer Foundation and ICR funded studentship


15) Characterisation and preclinical evaluation of a fibroblast-activating protein (FAP) targeted TRUCK CAR T-cell therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM)

View project proposal


Oracle Trust and ICR funded studentship


16) Characterising the immunopeptidome by proteogenomics and elucidating their associated immune response in head and neck cancer

View project proposal



Sarcoma UK and ICR funded studentship


17) TRANS-CASPS: Translational studies in the Cediranib in Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma
(CASPS) trial

View project proposal


NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funded studentships

These studentships fund clinically focused projects supporting the translational work of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.

Each project has strong links to clinical units in the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust building on strengths in basic sciences and their translational value. Students will have supervision from both a clinician and a basic scientist and be embedded in the research philosophy of the Biomedical Research Centre.

These studentships are open to all applicants (including overseas applicants). Please see our entry requirements for further eligibility information.


18) The development and implementation of Multi-Spectral CT imaging techniques and artificial intelligence methods within stereotactic radiosurgery treatment planning for oligometastases in the brain and intracranial meningiomas

View project proposal

19) Molecular mechanisms of acquired chemotherapy resistance in colorectal cancer and their implications for novel therapeutics development

View project proposal

20) Development and Implementation of Efficient Adaptive Designs in Early Phase Oncology Trials for Novel Agents 

View project proposal


MRC funded industrial CASE (iCASE) programme in Enabling Integrated Drug Discovery

This programme offers an exciting opportunity to train as a researcher with exposure to and understanding of integrated interdisciplinary drug discovery in both academia and industry.

These studentships are funded by the Medical Research Council. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. Please see the MRC residency requirements for further information.

Our iCASE programme offers projects in collaboration with two industry partners, AstraZeneca and Merck. The scheme will:

  • Provide students with experience of collaborative research with a non‐academic partner
  • Offer outstanding students an experience of at least two distinct research cultures
  • Provide access to a wider than usual range of technology, facilities and expertise
  • Enable the student to spend a period of time with the non-academic partner (usually no less than 3 months over the lifetime of the PhD)

Visit the Medical Research Council website for further details of the scheme.

There are four iCASE studentships available:


21) Investigating the druggability of the motif-mediated interactome with peptide PROTACs

  • Application menu title: Druggability of the motif-mediated interactome with peptide PROTACs
  • Primary supervisor: Dr Norman Davey
  • Industrial partner: Merck
  • Other members of the supervisory team: Dr Sebastian Guettler, Professor Jon Pines, Stefan Jaekel
  • Primary division and team: Cancer Biology, Short Linear Motifs
  • Project area(s): Biological Sciences

View project proposal

22) In-silico approaches to enable optimisation of small molecule binding by perturbing and interacting with water networks

View project proposal

23) Elucidating resistance to AKT inhibition in metastatic breast cancer

View project proposal

24) Understanding the regulation and impact of variant splicing in non-small cell lung cancer

View project proposal

Eligibility and application information

In addition to our general entry requirements, further eligibility criteria may apply to specific programmes and projects. Please ensure to read the information provided by the funding body and also the project proposals.

Please ensure that you read the following application instructions carefully:

How to apply

Applications for our main round of PhD studentships are made online via the ICR's Student Application Portal.

Out of the 24 projects above, you will be asked to indicate up to three project preferences.

Important dates:

  • Applications open on Friday 18 October 2019
  • You need to complete and submit your application by 11.55pm UK time on Sunday 17 November 2019
  • Applicants should be available for interview on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 January 2020

PhD studentships

Applications for our main PhD recruitment round have opened. We’re searching for the brightest minds in cancer research. The deadline for applications is 17 November.

ICR values

Our values – developed together as an organisation – make it clear how each and every one of us work to meet our mission – to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.