£5 million grant for health science PhD students

The University of Leicester has been awarded a Wellcome Trust grant of over £5 million. The grant will enable the University to support 40 genomic epidemiology and public health genomics PhD students beginning in the 2020/21 academic year.

This long-term commitment from Wellcome means that the University is able to advance their health science research in the specialist area of genomics - the study of the body’s genes, how they function and how they influence the body. With this funding in place, the University will now begin recruiting a number of research students.

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health, at University of Leicester, Martin Tobin said: "The award of this prestigious four-year PhD programme in Genomic Epidemiology and Public Health Genomics means that we are ideally equipped to train researchers who will address key UK and global health challenges.

"The University of Leicester has an outstanding track record of training early career researchers in these areas, and of effective collaboration with local partners, such as the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Academic Health Partners and the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, to translate scientific discoveries into better prevention and treatment of diseases for patients in our local communities and further afield.

"We also have extensive collaborations with global health and industry partners.  Building on all these strengths, the award will enable us to train more researchers than before and to better equip them for the variety of careers where they can use their skills effectively to meet some of the health and social challenges of the twenty-first century."

Some of the areas that the grant will support include training and research costs, research placements in industry and support for students from low- and middle-income countries.

The programme will give students the chance to focus on key public health research needs, including improved healthcare through genetically-driven methods; ensuring equal representation of minority groups in genetic research; understanding the needs of deprived communities using genomic information; advancing the benefits of genomics for hard-to-reach communities; and providing healthcare professionals and policymakers with the latest insights so that they can make the best decisions for the benefit of patients.

Students will have opportunities to develop skills in statistics, data science, computer programming, epidemiology, genomics and social science, medical law and ethics, and public health. There will be opportunities for research placements in industry and support in preparation for their future career.