Leicestershire Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Doctoral Training Programme


Can I participate in this programme remotely?

This programme will require you to be present in either Leicester or Loughborough at least 3 times a week (sometimes more). Therefore, this programme is not suitable for those who cannot feasibly commute, those who are not already based in Leicestershire, or those who are unwilling or unable to relocate to participate in this programme.

Am I eligible?

You must be a practicing AHP, nurse, midwife, doctor in training or GP

This programme is open to:

  • allied health professionals
  • nurses
  • midwives
  • doctors in training
  • general practitioners

We are using the NHS definition of allied health professionals. Check whether your profession qualifies as an AHP.

Fellows recruited to the programme must be practicing healthcare professionals and be registered with a national professional regulatory body (e.g. the General Medical Council, Health and Care Professions Council) in the UK/Republic of Ireland.

However, while we require you to be clinically active, your clinical work does not need to be your primary occupation. E.g. if you are a lecturer, but work on bank with the NHS, you are eligible to apply.

Medical graduates must be registered on a UK/Republic of Ireland specialist training programme or must be a registered GP.

You must be a UK applicant

This programme is not open to international applicants. If you are unsure whether you qualify as a UK applicant, please email PGRAdmissions@le.ac.uk who will be able to advise.

You must hold a Bachelor’s degree

The minimum entry requirement for a research degree programme is an upper second class honours degree, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject. However, in exceptional circumstances, a special case for admission may be made based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • other qualifications held
  • training and experience
  • published works
  • upper second class strengths demonstrated in relevant modules of first degree

Special cases for admission to a research degree programme will be subject to approval from the Dean of the Doctoral College.

Your English level must meet our English language requirements

To check whether you fulfil English language requirements or whether you may need to prove English language proficiency and what documentation you will need to do this. Find out more about our English language requirements.

My profession is not listed in the eligibility criteria. Can I still apply?

This programme is currently recruiting AHPs, nurses, midwives, doctors in training and GPs only. Therefore, if your profession is not on this list, you are not eligible to apply.

Why is my profession excluded from this programme?

When we applied for the grant, we did so on the premise that there is an underrepresentation of certain clinical professions in academic research. The professions we focused on, based on the expertise available at the University of Leicester, are AHPs, nurses, midwives, doctors in training and GPs.

While this is not an exhaustive list of clinical professions experiencing underrepresentation in research, our grant was awarded to us on this premise. We are unable to change our requirements to include any other profession as part of this programme.

Does my profession count as an AHP?

In determining your eligibility on the basis of your profession, we will use the NHS’s current definition of AHP. Please check the NHS England website for further clarification.

Can I pitch my own project?

We do not accept original project submissions. Please review the projects listed on our website for one that suits you best.

In the application portal, there is no provision to select which projects I am interested in. What do I do?

Please include the titles of the project(s) you wish to apply for within the applicant statement.

Should I contact the supervisor of a project I’m interested in before I apply?

Yes, it is recommended you get in touch with the supervisor of your preferred project to discuss it in further detail.

What will you ask for as part of my application?

Each recruitment round we ask you to submit the following documentation:

An up-to-date CV

Your CV should contain information about your education (your degrees and what classification you have) and your professional experience. Do highlight any research experience you have. 

A personal statement

Your personal statement should include:

  • Your name
  • The title of your preferred project(s) (2 max)
  • The supervisor(s) of your prefer project(s)
  • A personal statement, in which you outline why you are applying for this programme (700 word max)
  • References (if relevant)

What should I write about in my personal statement?

Can applicants use employer references as part of their application?


Do reference letters need to contain anything in particular?

References should refer to your academic ability and experiences you have had in your education. Remember to ask your referees before putting their names down, and it always helps for them to know about the scheme you are applying for.

How is a candidate’s suitability for a given project evaluated?

Aside from evidence of the appropriate skills to conduct the PhD, we are interested in candidates who show enthusiasm for their chosen subject and good potential to thrive in the research environment. In addition, candidates will be selected on the basis of fitting into the cohort that we are building each year.

Learn how to craft a competitive CV and personal statement on our application help page.

What sort of experience are you looking for in a candidate?

An academic/clinical background in the relevant subject is preferred but not essential. You do not require a Master’s degree to participate. Your skills and potential are key.

Is there flexibility around the projects to include a student's research interests?

While you are required to choose a project proposal from a select list to participate in this programme, please contact the supervisor of this project to discuss your interests and how/whether they fit into the remit of that project.

If I apply for more than one project, will I get interviewed for each one separately?

You will only be interviewed once, and you will be evaluated on the basis of being suitable for the project you prefer. If that project is selected by a higher scoring candidate or if you score highly but the panel determine you would do better taking up a different project, you will not be interviewed again, but instead you will be offered another project on the basis of your first interview.

Can I apply for a project even if I don’t have experience in some of the areas detailed in the project description?

It is not necessary for you to already be an expert in the subject of the project you have selected. We will provide training and your skills and knowledge will expand with the programme. 

When will I be informed about the outcome of my applications?

Shortlisting will begin soon after the deadline for this programme, and successful candidates will be informed within 2-3 weeks of the outcome of their application. After the interview, we will aim to inform you as soon as possible whether you have been successful in securing a place in this year’s cohort.

Will interviews be held virtually?

Yes, for applicants wishing to start their PhD in October 2023, we will be conducting interviews virtually via Microsoft Teams. 

What are the main skills you are looking for in a candidate?

PhDs are difficult and require a lot of dedication and passion. We will look for highly motivated candidates, who show an enthusiasm for their projects and a keen interest in research work. Within each project, we will also look for particular skills, which will ensure that you can successfully complete your degree.

Does the University help with finding and organising accommodation?

University accommodation will be available for successful candidates, and the university accommodation office will help with finding a suitable place. 

Is there support for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties?

We are very happy to discuss any needs you have. The University has a wide range of helpful options to make applying and studying with us as easy as possible. You can discuss any particular needs with your supervisor, or you can ask the programme coordinator about specific arrangements or worries at lhiip@leicester.ac.uk.

Can I participate part-time?

This programme aims to be as inclusive as possible, and this also pertains to arranging studies around busy family lives or other commitments. The programme is flexible and will accommodate part-time arrangements.

However, part-time working is not permitted for the purposes of continuing clinical training or to maintain another salaried position. Your salary must be 100% attributed to the fellowship.

I am worried about my clinical skills – how can I maintain them while on this programme?

You are permitted to devote up to 0.2FTE of the programme to clinical work for the purpose of maintaining your skills (more in certain cases). You are not permitted to take up any paid work while you are on this programme.

I am a trained clinical professional, however I have given up clinical work and am now looking to go into research. Am I eligible?

Unfortunately, a clinically trained person who is no longer practising would not be eligible for this programme. The fellowships are intended to allow applicants to combine a clinical and academic career, hence the specific eligibility expectations.

You may wish to consider the Wellcome Trust 4 year basic PhD programmes.

LHIIP live Q&A

On the 23 January 2023, Professor Sally Singh (programme director), Professor Amanda Daley (co-director representing Loughborough University), Dr Sylvie Kilford (programme coordinator) and Frank Arsenaydis (programme fellow) hosted a Teams Live Q&A event to address questions from applicants and those interested in applying for the programme. Watch the recorded event.

*Correction: At 36 minutes 55 seconds, in answer to the question about whether GPs are eligible to apply to the programme, we state that only doctors in training and GPs in primary care are eligible to apply for this programme. Please be advised that as per the eligibility criteria, all junior doctors and GPs are eligible to apply for this programme.

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