Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Studentship Programme

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Health Sciences Genetics Leicester Law School

Application deadline: 19 April 2021

Start date: 27 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, welcomed 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.

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

To view full details of the Programme:

 See the WTDTP prospectus for further details (PDF, 4 MB)

  • Learn more about the Programme’s themes and routes
  • Find out about the training and placement opportunities, as well as the post-PhD transition period
  • View full details of the funding available and how many places we offer per intake
  • Meet the team behind the Programme and read case studies from current students on the Programme and colleagues within the field
  • Find out how to apply
  • Discover answers to frequently asked questions

During each open recruitment round, projects will be advertised in the grey box below – please click on each project for more information.



Wellcome Trust Projects 2021

The Programme is currently advertising four studentships for a September 2021 start:

2x 4-year PhDs at UK/EU funding rates

2x 1+4-year PhDs at UK/EU funding rates

For applicants wishing to apply for the 4-year PhD route, there are six projects currently available for 2021 entry. Please click on the projects below for more detail:

Projects in Theme 1 (Genomics for Drug Development and Pharmacogenetics)

Correlated traits analyses to enhance drug target discovery (T1/27)

Projects in Theme 2 (Genomics for Precision Medicine in Underserved Populations)

No projects available at this time.

Projects in Theme 3 (Genetically Informed Causal Inference and Risk Prediction)

Integrative mapping and generation of precision biomarkers (T3/17)

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

Projects in Theme 4 (Genetically Informed Causal Inference and Risk Prediction)

Maternal and paternal futures: responsibilisation practices in the preconception period to ensure health outcomes for babies (T4/25)

Cross-Theme Projects

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

Genetic and environmental factors conferring susceptibility to adverse respiratory impacts of air pollution (T23/23)



Below is an outline of the different studentships that the Programme offers each year. For details of the exact number of places being advertised during each recruitment round, please see the grey box containing the advertised projects above.

Studentships offered each year:

At least 4 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)

  • 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  PhD Year 1 £19,919; Year 2 £21,542; Year 3 £23,298; Year 4 £23,997.

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 open recruitment rounds. Please check the exact studentships being offered each round

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.

Application Notes (all applicants)

In addition to the documentation detailed on the online application portal, candidates will need to have prepared and uploaded a current CV and an applicant statement.

All applicants should enter Wellcome Trust DTP in the Funding section of the online application form.

It is advisable that candidates approach the supervisor(s) of their proposed project(s) prior to submitting their application.

The applicant statement must:

Be of 700 words or less

Explain why the candidate is planning to undertake study at PhD level

Explain why the candidate should be considered for a PhD studentship within the Genomic Epidemiology and Public Health Genomics Doctoral Training Programme at the University of Leicester

Additional Application Notes (specific routes)

Applicants to the 4-year route within Themes 1-3 only should list three advertised projects in order of first, second and third preference as part of the applicant statement. 

Applicants to the 4-year route within Theme 4 only should clearly identify preferred project(s), and in order of preference where applicable, as part of the applicant statement.

Applicants to the 1+4 route only are not required to identify preferred project(s) at the time of application, but should identify any preferred Themes. Candidates must also clearly specify their preferred Master’s course(s) and the relevance to future research

Applicants who wish to propose original projects should upload a separate 1-page project description in the proposal section in addition to the applicant statement. It is essential that candidates have discussed their proposed project with the intended supervisor before submitting an application. We will be unable to shortlist projects that have not been initially discussed with an appropriate academic.

All successfully shortlisted candidates will be invited to a 30-minute interview. Interviews will be conducted virtually for overseas candidates. 
Please note that due to current restrictions, all interviews will be conducted virtually until further notice.



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.

Please see details of the currently advertised positions as we may advertise for different funding levels at different times of the year