Postgraduate study

Optical Medical Imaging with Healthcare Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

OPTIMA is the EPSRC and MRC Centre for Optical Medical Imaging, which brings together world-class research teams in both the clinical and physical sciences in order to address the priority area of Optical Medical Imaging.

OPTIMA is hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde. Our focus is to train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs in healthcare technologies and so we place great emphasis on interdisciplinary projects, commercially relevant training and strong ties to the clinical environment.

Our team of supervisors is of international standing in their respective fields. They have published more than 1300 peer-reviewed papers, are in receipt of research grant income in excess of £110 million, and have supervised more than 300 PhD students.

This four-year PhD with integrated study programme combines:

  • excellent research and PhD supervision in world-leading scientific environments
  • a bespoke programme of business training in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship

OPTIMA students can choose from a portfolio of exciting and innovative projects that breakdown the barriers between physics, chemistry, medicine and engineering. Our students use cutting-edge optical technology to address key clinical questions via medical imaging.

In addition to research in the theme of Optical Medical Imaging, all OPTIMA students embark on a bespoke programme of integrated study in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Unlike other four year programmes, we want the integrated study portion to constantly inform and educate our students throughout their time with us and so the training modules that form the integrated study portion run concurrent with the research over four years. We want our students to understand and appreciate the innovative leaps they are making and be able to capitalise on their discoveries.

OPTIMA has a dedicated manager, outreach officer and two administrators dedicated to the students. This offers unparalleled support and flexibility to become a student-centred training programme.

The OPTIMA team is made up of :

  • 30 PhD Supervisors
  • 25 OPTIMA students
  • 7 Academic Directors
  • 4 Professional Services Support Staff

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in biomedical science, chemistry, physics, engineering or a related subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

OPTIMA studentships cover fees and stipend for four years. Studentships are subject to Research Council funding eligibility criteria. We have a limited number of studentships for which EU nationals can apply.

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Joseph Black Building
  • David Brewster Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FJ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

We accept PhD students at the start of the academic year (September) only.

Please check our website for the deadlines for the next OPTIMA intake:

You must submit two references with your application.

If you would like to apply to OPTIMA, please email us in the first instance to express your interest in the programme and receive further information:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Joseph Black Building
  • David Brewster Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FJ