Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Studentship Programme

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Health Sciences Genetics Leicester Law School

Application deadline: 3rd December 2020 (Midnight UK Time)

Start date: 27th September 2021


Genomic Epidemiology and Public Health Genomics PhD Programme (Wellcome Trust DTP)

This 4-year PhD programme for the University of Leicester, with support from the Wellcome Trust, welcomes its first students in autumn 2020. The programme can support up to eight students per year over five intakes. 

Via four themes, the programme will train professionals to address research needs to better understand the health of the population and the role of genetic factors in determining health and disease. Opportunities for skills development will be principally in priority areas of statistics, data science, computer programming, epidemiology, genomics and social science, medical law and ethics, and public health.

There are a number of projects on offer each year, to which students can apply. Each project is linked to at least one of the four themes.

  • Theme 1: Genomics for Drug Development and Pharmacogenetics
  • Theme 2: Genomics for Precision Medicine in Underserved Populations
  • Theme 3: Genetically Informed Causal Inference and Risk Prediction
  • Theme 4: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genomics and Genomic Epidemiology Studies

There will be unique opportunities to undertake research placements with our industry partners, and to work with partners in low and middle income countries. This is a flexible trainee centred programme with a wide range of skills development, both subject specific and career enhancing. For more information, click here. 

There are two routes available on this programme:

  • 4-year PhD (which can also be offered part-time)
  • 1-year MSc followed by a 4-year PhD

View full details of programme themes, programme routes, programme content and meet the team leads.

Case Studies

**Available projects are listed in the Projects 2021 section below.**

Please read the application advice carefully before submitting your application.

Wellcome Trust Projects 2021

The Programme is advertising 11 projects for 2021 entry. Some of these are offered under a single Theme, while others are cross-Theme projects under two or more of the four Themes. Please click on the projects below for more detail:

Projects in Theme 1 Genomics for Drug Development and Pharmacogenetics

Ref T1-21 Fine mapping asthma-susceptibility loci to identify putative targets for drug development

Ref T1-27 Correlated traits analyses to enhance drug target discovery 

Projects in Theme 2 Genomics for Precision Medicine in Underserved Populations

Ref T2-24 Investigating the impact of multiallelic copy number variation on disease-relevant traits in UK and African populations

Projects in Theme 3 Genetically Informed Causal Inference and Risk Prediction

Ref T3-16 Genome association studies to detect genetic determinants of virulence traits of invasive meningococcal disease isolates with age stratification

Ref T3-17 Integrative mapping and generation of precision biomarkers

Ref T3-18 Genetics of Progression, Complications and Severity (PROCeS)

Projects in Theme 4

Ref T4-20 The ethical and legal implications of direct-to-consumer genetic testing

Ref T4-25 Maternal and paternal futures: responsibilisation practices in the preconception period to ensure health outcomes for babies

Cross-Theme Projects

Ref T13-19 Matching the right medicine(s) to the right patient -quantitative prediction of single- or dual therapies using genetics and proteomics

Ref T23-22  Investigating associations between traditional and non-traditional risk factors and cardiometabolic disease in African populations, by contrasting traditional epidemiological techniques with Mendelian randomization

T23-23 Genetic and environmental factors conferring susceptibility to adverse respiratory impacts of air pollution



Studentships and funding to be offered

6 x 4 year PhD for UK/EU students

  • Postgraduate research fee waiver at standard College of Life Sciences UK/EU rates for all four years of the PhD
  • Wellcome Trust stipend for all four years of the PhD*

2 x 4 year PhD for International from Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) are defined by the Wellcome Trust.

  • Postgraduate research fee waiver at standard College of Life Sciences overseas rates for all four years of the PhD
  • Wellcome Trust stipend for all four years of the PhD*

2 x 1 year MSc + 4 year PhD 

  • Postgraduate taught UK/EU fee waiver for year 1 only (no stipend).
  • Postgraduate research fee waiver at standard College of Life Sciences UK/EU rates for years 2-5 (PhD years) 
  • Wellcome Trust stipend for years 2-5 (PhD years)*

*Wellcome Trust stipend rates for 2020/1 entry are: PhD Year 1 £19,919; Year 2 £21,542; Year 3 £23,298; Year 4 £23,997. 2021/2 rates will be available shortly.

International students who are not from an identified LMIC are welcome to apply but may be required to pay the difference between home student fees and international student fees for the duration of their studies.

Additional funding for all study options include:

  • Funding for training, research costs directly related to the studentship and a contribution towards project related travel. 
  • A generous transition fund, focused on preparing students for their subsequent careers – this could for example provide for a student-driven choice of employment placement after submission of their PhD.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Candidates applying to the 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold an undergraduate degree or a Master's degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent
  • Candidates applying to the 1-year MSc + 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject
  • University of Leicester English language requirements apply

Candidates who do not meet these entry requirements, but feel they have additional research experience should describe this clearly in the applicant statement.

We welcome applications from those from underrepresented groups, including minority ethnic groups and those with disabilities.

The 4-year PhD may also be undertaken on a part time basis for students who have family or other commitments (UK applicants only).

Any questions regarding flexible study can be directed to genomicsphd@le.ac.uk

Applicants should note that this programme is not intended for clinically active, medically qualified candidates.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

For project enquiries please contact the relevant Theme lead or the project supervisor in the first instance.

Administration and general enquiries to Sarah Robinson at genomicsphd@leicester.ac.uk.

Application enquiries can be sent to pgradmissions@le.ac.uk.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications will only be considered during the period when funding is available 

All applicants should apply using the Apply button at the bottom of page. After clicking on the appropriate application tab and select September 2021 entry.

The application in the first instance is to Health Sciences but if an offer is made the academic department may change depending on the research project.

Read the Project descriptions and decide which you want to apply for and then prepare your Applicant Statement. 

Please upload into the application system:  

  • Applicant Statement (maximum 700 words) addressing the following:
    • Explaining why you are planning to undertake a PhD
    • Explaining why you should be considered for a PhD studentship within this programme
    • Listing up to three projects in order of first, second and third preference (include project title and supervisor) – optional for 1+4 route, but identifying a preferred theme(s) may help us direct your application appropriately
    • Justifying your choice of project(s) – optional for 1+4 route
    • Candidates who wish to undertake the 1-year MSc + 4-year PhD must clearly specify this in the applicant statement and identify the preferred Master’s course(s) and why they may be relevant to future research.
  • Research proposal section Enter the project reference number, supervisor and project title for the project/s you want to be considered for or 
    • Candidates who wish to specify their own original projects must use Project Ref. SPP/1 in the application and upload a separate 1-page project description in the Proposal Section in addition to the applicant statement above.
  • Enter the contact details of two academic referees in the text boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already obtained 
  • Upload copies of your degree certificates and transcripts for study already completed and any transcripts to date for study currently being undertaken.
  • Current CV
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable

In the section on Funding enter the source of funding as Wellcome Trust DTP


Candidates successfully shortlisted will be invited for interview online.



UK/EU and International* applicants may apply.

*International applicants not applying from a Low or Middle Income Country must be able to demonstrate that they can fund the difference between UK/EU and International tuition fees for the duration of the PhD.