Graduate Research & Training
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

PhD projects for Quantitative Scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit

APPLY NOW - Closing date 17 April 2020

"Are you a graduate level physicist, mathematician, statistician, engineer, computer scientist, bioinformatician or similar, seeking PhD training to made a difference in medicine and biology?" If so, we want you!

To understand how our genomes work to control the function of molecules, cells and tissues in people and populations we need to combine research in multiple disciplines. To achieve this our PhD programme harnesses strengths in the latest computational and experimental technologies and relates fundamental research to human disease.

We have a wide variety of research groups who need your computational and analytical skills. Projects will be developed with individual research groups following 2 mini-projects and places are available for up to three successful candidates. Example projects might include electronic health records, artificial intelligence, Bayesian statistics, genome-scale data analysis etc”

We are committed to high quality training, mentorship and research excellence to prepare the next generation of scientists to tackle the most challenging questions underpinning health and disease. This will enable you to think critically, undertake mechanistic research and make new discoveries.

Programme structure

First 6 months: students participate in structured teaching covering key topics in areas such as genome regulation, disease mechanisms and biomedical genomics. This is combined with computational and statistical training and a journal club. At the same time students participate in 2 mini-projects to experience different laboratory environments.

Subsequent years: Students then develop a PhD project for the remaining 3.5 years. 

Who should apply?

Applicants should have a 1st class or 2.1 degree or a Masters in any relevant discipline including physics, mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, bioinformatics or similar. Importantly we are seeking motivated students excited by new opportunities who are keen to discover new disciplines and work across multiple fields.

Why Edinburgh?

Edinburgh University is consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities. We are a major center of biomedical research and have strong collaborations to other disciplines including informatics, mathematics, chemistry and physics, providing an exciting environment for ground breaking multi-disciplinary research projects. Edinburgh has often been voted as the UK city offering the highest quality of life and is renowned for its affordability and rich cultural life.

Application procedure

Up to 4 studentships are available to start in September 2020 for outstanding applicants with a stipend of £17,900 p/a. You should told at least an upper second-class degree in a relevant subject and comply with English language requirements (see application page). For full funding (fees and stipend) students must be UK or EU citizens.

For informal enquiries or concerns about eligibility please contact Nick Gilbert ( or Chris Ponting (


Exemplar projects: