Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine
Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine

TRAM Programme MB-PhD

PhD opportunities in musculoskeletal disease for MB-ChB students.

The TRAM MB-PhD scheme offers a new and exciting opportunity for bright, motivated and enthusiastic medical students to access high quality research training during their medical degree.  The scheme is funded by the Kennedy Trust which has provided funding for a 5-year programme of joint MB-PhD studentships in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as other UK  centres of excellence in musculoskeletal disease.

The scheme offers students the opportunity to undertake a PhD in an area relevant to musculoskeletal disease after completion of their intercalated BSc. The scheme will also encourage graduates to follow an academic career within the area of musculoskeletal disease. The vision of TRAM is to train a future generation of academic leaders in the field of musculoskeletal disease. Successful applicants will be trained in cutting edge practical scientific and analytic skills with a focus on scientific excellence, while gaining understanding of the rigour, discipline and precision required for translational research. It is expected that the research projects will generate material that will form the basis of publications in high profile medical and scientific journals.


Course Summary

The TRAM MB-PhD scheme enables 3rd-year MB-ChB students to enter a 3-year PhD training during their medical degree. Students can enter the programme at the end of year 3, following completion of their BMedSci degree or at the end of year 4 following their first clinical year. Following completion of the PhD, students will return to  the MB-ChB course at the point they left (year 4 for students who commence their PhD during year 3, and year 5 for students who commence their PhD during year 4. The students will be mentored by their supervisors and other staff of the MB-PhD scheme, right from the PhD selection process, through the PhD project, to MB-ChB course completion and beyond into the postgraduate phase, to maximise the chance of sustaining a successful academic career. The PhD programmes will be undertaken within research centres and institutes associated with College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh or the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences in Glasgow. The scheme will offer students the possibility of undertaking collaborative projects involving supervisors from both Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as offering students the opportunity to participate in scientific meetings and other activities organised by students, academic staff and supervisors based in from both cities. Additionally, students will have the opportunity of networking with students from other Kennedy Trust funded UK centres in Birmingham, Manchester, and Oxford.



The TRAM MB-PhD programme is available to students who are currently undertaking an intercalated medical degree (MB-ChB) at the University of Edinburgh or the University of Glasgow. External candidates can be considered only in exceptional circumstances.


Further information

Informal enquires and expressions of interest for the programme should be directed to the TRAM team at this email address tram@ed.ac.uk or directly to Professor Stuart Ralston stuart.ralston@ed.ac.uk.


Projects available

A variety of PhD projects are available for prospective students to choose from. Please click this link to view details of the projects that are on offer.


TRAM PhD Projects

A list of available PhD projects offered as part of the TRAM MB-PhD Programme are displayed below

Application forms


To make an application please complete this form and submit by emailing the completed form to tram@ed.ac.uk  by 5pm on Thursday 11th April 2024. Please note that informal expressions of interest are also welcome (see below).



The second year of entry to the scheme will be in 2024.  Timelines are shown below:

To express an interest in the programme, for informal advice or to organise a meeting with Professor Ralston to discuss things, please email tram@ed.ac.uk  or stuart.ralston@ed.ac.uk.

Deadline for applications: 11th April 2024

Interviews: 15th April 2024 (these will be performed remotely using Teams or ZOOM).

Successful applicants notified: May 2024

Start of (optional) summer mini-projects: June 2024

Start of the PhD project:  September 2024