Frequently Asked Questions

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Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our training programmes, to help  you find the right training opportunity for your skills.

Which training opportunity is right for me?

There are various training opportunities to suit everyone’s academic background.

For postgraduate taught training programmes, Master’s opportunities provide in-depth training in various cancer fields, from experimental medicine, to cancer research and molecular biomedicine. Further details can be found on the Master’s Opportunities webpage.

For non-clinical postgraduates looking for a postgraduate research opportunity, PhD Studentships are ideal for you, and will involve taking on a specific research projects in fields such as early detection, radiotherapy and many more. Further details can be found on our PhD Studentship webpage.

For clinicians who want to undertake a field of research, our clinical training programmes are tailored to you. If you are an MBChB student studying at the University of Manchester or University of St Andrews, then you may be interested in our MB-PhD programme, intercalating research into a medical degree. For post-registration clinicians, our Clinical (PhD) Research Training Fellowships provide a detailed programme of work for you to undertake a research project with a dedicated supervisory team.

For pre and post-PhD clinicians, the University’s Integrated Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) programme provides trainees at all career stages with opportunities to engage in research and academic training. This includes Academic Clinical Fellowships and Academic Clinical Lectureships. Find out more and contact the ICAT team at their website.


How can I meet and network with potential supervisors?

The MCRC host a number of annual public-facing events attended by staff and postgraduate researchers. Scroll down to the bottom of the MCRC homepage and subscribe to our News Bulletin for events and networking opportunities.


How can I secure a PhD opportunity?

Our opportunities are highly competitive, and each have different application processes and criteria. Our Cancer Research UK-funded PhD programmes are typically advertised in September/October annually with a November deadline and interviews taking place the subsequent January for a start date that year. Supervisors will begin working on their PhD proposals from summer onwards and we encourage candidates to make contact with academics that they are interested in working with at the earliest possible date. They can use the MCRC Research in Manchester webpage to learn more about our research groups and can visit the Division of Cancer Sciences webpage and Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute website. MB-PhD projects will have later timelines.


The MCRC has a dedicated Training Office led by Rachel Chown, Education and Development Lead with support from Georgina Binnie-Wright, Postgraduate Programme Manager, based in the Oglesby Cancer Research Building in Withington. They can discuss research plans and signpost prospective applicants to relevant staff and funding opportunities. Please contact the MCRC Training Office on with any queries and/or to arrange a virtual/in-person meeting.

When do opportunities open at the MCRC?

PhD opportunities open throughout the year and we advise regularly checking the MCRC, The University of Manchester Doctoral Academy, CRUK Manchester Centre and CRUK Manchester Institute websites for the latest opportunities.

The majority of postgraduate research opportunities open for application in Autumn with a projected start date of the subsequent year.


Will my opportunity be fully funded?

Postgraduate research opportunities including PhD Studentships and Clinical Research Training Fellowships available through the CRUK Manchester Centre and CRUK Manchester Institute are fully funded by Cancer Research UK.

Other PhD opportunities are subject to different funding criteria and we advise checking with the course administrators on the funding status or contacting with additional queries.


What should I write in my PhD supporting statement?

The University’s Biology, Medicine and Health ‘PGR Research: How to Apply’ webpage contains details about the supporting documents to include with your PhD application, including structuring your supporting statement.


As an undergraduate student applying for the MB-PhD programme, how do I demonstrate sufficient research experience?

For our PhD programmes, candidates are asked to provide evidence of their track record and future potential appropriate to their research experience and current career stage. You can hear from one of our Cancer Research UK-funded MB-PhD students and Postgraduate Programme Manager about applying to these schemes here.


What are supervisors looking for in a PhD application?

Our CRUK Manchester Centre PhD Virtual Open Week session introduced attendees to studying at the MCRC and CRUK Manchester Centre, including what we typically look for in applications to our PhD programmes. You can re-watch videos from this event here.


Does the MCRC offer placements or internships?

The MCRC does not offer any specific opportunities for undergraduate placements, unless advertised via specific schemes, such as the Wellcome ICD. Any placements and short-term internships are organised directly by individual supervisors, and we would therefore advise you identify a lab you would want to work in and contact and liaise with the investigator directly to see what opportunities are available. MB-PhD summer placements were offered formally for the first time in 2021.

You can find contact information for the academics on the Division of Cancer Sciences website.

Organisations such as the BBSRC also offer summer research placements.


PhD Opportunities

Discover the postgraduate research programmes available in Manchester.

Master's Opportunities

Discover the postgraduate taught and research opportunities available in Manchester that will provide you with a Master’s or equivalent degree in a relevant cancer field.

Clinical Fellowship Opportunities

Discover opportunities for clinicians enabling them to drive research from the bench to the bedside.


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