Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
EID logo 2019

Innovative science PhD programmes announced by the Wellcome Trust

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that it has been awarded two prestigious 4-year PhD programmes by the Wellcome Trust.

Students in lab
The University of Edinburgh was awarded four PhD programmes by the Wellcome Trust.

The PhD programmes in Hosts, Pathogens & Global Health, and One Health Models of Disease have each received >£5.3m funding that will recruit five student cohorts, starting in 2020.

Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health

The existing programme in Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health is led by Profs Keith Matthews and Mark Woolhouse, and is based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Since its establishment in 2016, the programme has developed a unique interdisciplinary and international research training structure providing expertise spanning infectious disease biology from molecular to evolutionary and epidemiological scales.

The Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme has proved itself as a dynamic and innovative model to train the next generation of infectious disease researchers. We are delighted the enthusiasm of our students, staff and international partners has been rewarded by this substantial new award.

Keith MatthewsCo-Director Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme

One Health Models of Disease: Science, Ethics and Society

The second programme based in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine is led by Prof Ross Fitzgerald, of The Roslin Institute and Director of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, and Dr Martyn Pickersgill, Reader in Social Studies of Biomedicine at the Usher Institute.

This new programme addresses the technological advances that are being made in genome editing and animal bioscience, and which have potential for huge societal impact. 

Students will be equipped with expertise in relevant experimental techniques, alongside key understanding of the bioethical and social contexts of the models they develop. 

We are delighted to be awarded the Wellcome PhD programme which builds on existing strengths in human and veterinary medicine and social science in Edinburgh. The programme will help train the next generation of scientists to apply cutting edge technologies to address some of the most important diseases facing mankind, and to understand the social and bioethical consequences of these powerful approaches.

Ross FitzgeraldCo-Director One Health Models of Disease PhD programme

Focus on research culture

In total the Wellcome Trust awarded £127M funding to support 23 new PhD programmes across the UK, that demonstrated that they will blend scientific excellence and a commitment to improving research culture.

This includes a further two programmes at the University of Edinburgh – Integrated Cell Mechanisms, led by Prof Robin Allshire, and Translational Neuroscience 2, led by Prof Sephen Lawrie.

Dr Anne-Marie Coriat, Head, UK and Europe Research Landscape at the Wellcome Trust, said that

Our new approach to PhD funding was designed to place culture at the heart of what we do.  

She went onto explain that:

The new programmes [are] built on high quality science training and crucially promote a positive research environment, with measures to address key issues, including supporting student mental health, good research practice, supervision and mentorship, career transitions and increasing diversity in research.


The Hosts, Pathogens & Global Health and the One Health Models of Diseases programmes will be recruiting students later this autumn who will start their studies in October 2020.

In addition to the five students each year that will be funded by the Wellcome Trust, the University of Edinburgh has also provided one fully funded scholarship per year for each programme, which will allow the recruitment of six students from around the world each year for five years.

Full details about the programmes and how to apply will be available on the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases website shortly.

Further information

Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme

One Health Models of Disease PhD programme

Study in Edinburgh

Related links

Wellcome Trust Integrative Cell Mechanisms PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh

Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh

Wellcome Trust blog by Anne-Maire Coriat - 4 ways that PhD programmes are improving their training culture