Postgraduate study

Integrated Studies in Medical Sciences with Engagement PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

This is a 4 year PhD with an integrated study programme.

The PhD is constructed around research projects in medical sciences and translational research subjects, with integrated studies in Engagement for Impact subjects.

Further details of the programme can be found on the School website.

Our Vision

We recognise that there is a growing need for scientists to receive teaching in engagement and communication skills.

As a PhD student, you will learn skills in engaging non-specialist audiences with research and apply these as a core part of performing your high-level scientific research.


This innovative and unique PhD programme includes teaching and practical application of the following areas:

  • public engagement
  • science communication
  • patient involvement
  • data design and informatics

These areas are credited and assessed components within world leading PhD projects in medical sciences and translational research.

Our graduates

This PhD programme equips you with the skills to deliver key scientific outputs and discover disease mechanisms and novel therapies.

The programme complements this with core teaching components in engagement and impact.

How will I be taught?

As a student on this programme, you will select a leading research project in one of the following areas:

  • inflammation biology
  • regenerative medicine
  • clinical brain sciences
  • infectious disease biology
  • immunology
  • cardiovascular sciences
  • genetic and molecular medicine

Available projects will be advertised on the programme website.

What will I learn?

The PhD with integrated study is a cutting edge PhD with credited teaching in Engagement for Impact skills, integrated throughout the PhD.

We offer flexibility in our teaching provision. This includes a bespoke selection of assessed and credited MSc level courses in areas including:

  • science communication
  • public engagement
  • patient involvement
  • data design and informatics

These courses are defined by your individual needs and the nature of your research project.

This programme is based on genuine research-integrated engagement. As a student on this programme, you will learn to use engagement skills as a core component of being a researcher.

You will develop a unique, assessed Engagement for Impact portfolio with tangible research-integrated engagement outputs.

This will be developed around a focus on engaging the public, community, patients or policymaker audiences that may be impacted by the possible long term outcomes of your specific research project.

The University of Edinburgh is an international leader in fundamental-to-translational medical sciences research. We have an outstanding record of interdisciplinarity and innovation, conducted by exceptional researchers who offer the highest level of experience in research and PhD training.


Applicants are invited to contact proposed supervisors or programme co-directors for more information.

You will be invited to express a project preference at application, but final project allocation will be completed after a student has been accepted into the programme.

This PhD is a four year programme.

Blocks of time will be allocated to taught courses throughout the four years, with minimal teaching in the final year.


The taught courses are worth 180 credits. They will consist of a mixture of compulsory and elective courses in the following areas:

  • science communication
  • public engagement
  • patient involvement
  • data design and informatics
  • applied engagement for impact

The choice of elective courses will enable you to create a tailored programme which is most suited to the engagement needs of your individual research project.

You will take:

  • 40 credits in Year 1
  • 60 credits in Year 2
  • 60 credits in Year 3
  • 20 credits in Year 4

Students will often join existing MSc course groups to receive this training.

Impact for Engagement courses

In the 20 credit per year series of Impact for Engagement courses, you will apply your developing engagement skills and will learn to reflect on and evaluate that process.

Impact for Engagement courses will be taken every year, with the cumulative product being an Engagement for Impact e-portfolio in your final year.

You will create tangible engagement outputs, ranging from resources to events, that genuinely integrate with your research topic.

You will be supported by expert mentors throughout this course, on an individual basis.

As a PhD student, you will be supported by experienced, internationally-recognised PhD supervisors, as well as a PhD Thesis Committee.

PhD research projects will be focused on delivering key scientific outputs, discovering disease mechanisms, and developing and implementing new therapies.

The subject matter of the PhD research projects will be selected to ensure that they are suitable for engaging with non-specialist audiences.

Taught courses

The bespoke selection of taught courses will provide the knowledge and framework for you to start to develop your engagement skills.

These courses will be taught in dedicated time blocks throughout the 4 years, during which time you will join existing MSc course groups.

These courses will be primarily be drawn from:


PhD training at the University of Edinburgh includes support for flexible development of your personal, professional and technical skills.

Institute for Academic Development

In addition to the credited taught components, you will have the opportunity to undertake Institute for Academic Development (IAD) professional skills training tailored to the training year.

Training opportunities are available in:

  • project planning and management
  • writing and publishing
  • personal effectiveness
  • statistics
  • leadership
  • thesis writing

Student community

A supportive student community will be actively developed across the programme as student numbers grow.

This will be promoted via induction events, student-led peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and a varied programme of events.

Events include:

  • participation in 3-minute thesis
  • media training
  • FameLab
  • science festivals
  • school and community outreach
  • parliamentary engagement events
  • patient-researcher exchanges
  • portfolio showcasing (including 360° feedback)

Research environment

This programme situates you within a unique research environment.

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) brings together biomedical scientists, medical doctors and veterinarians.

Researchers work together to play a world-leading role in understanding the causes of disease and developing new diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic approaches.

As the UK’s only unified College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, CMVM consolidates research in multidisciplinary centres. These centres are clustered within contemporary research institutes which are located next to hospitals on three major campuses.

PhD students will study at the Institute of their selected primary supervisor, with access to world-class facilities, technical support and supervision.

The proximity of research institutes to human and animal hospitals allows for cutting-edge translational research, to maximise impact on health, and excellent opportunities for public engagement.

The College is an established leader in science communication and public engagement teaching at MSc level, and offers innovative MSc programmes in Data Design and Informatics.

You will receive teaching from courses on these programmes, and our new credited Engagement for Impact course. Combined with research in a 4-year PhD with integrated study model, this creates a new model of PhD programme unique to this University.

Engagement for Impact courses

In the Engagement for Impact courses, you will learn about and experience a wide range of existing engagement events, resources and activities in a credit-bearing format.

You will steadily progress from an observer, to volunteer, before taking increasing levels of responsibility for event design, delivery and evaluation. Mentored experiential learning and reflection will train you and provide confidence in the use of these skills.

The form of your engagement outputs will be defined by the audience most relevant for your research project. These could include:

  • workshops
  • exhibits
  • patient information resources
  • lay targeted science resources
  • public debates/presentations
  • MP/policy-maker targeted information
  • novel data design approaches
  • blogs
  • artwork
  • animations
  • comics
  • videos
  • games
  • lesson plans

The design of these unique Engagement for Impact courses, enables almost unlimited flexibility, supported by a mentored and structed framework.

As a graduate of this programme, you can expect to pursue internationally-renowned research in a highly collaborative and cross-disciplinary manner.

Our graduates will:

  • become innovative and creative thinkers
  • gain the confidence to engage with non-specialist audiences
  • develop meaningful and long-term relationships with stakeholders

This opportunity changes the way we think about PhD training. Graduates from this programme will be ideally placed to be the next generation of scientific research leaders and policy makers.

In the rapidly changing landscape of impact-based University assessment and funder prioritisation of engagement in research, this programme contributes to redefining what constitutes excellence in research.

As an engaged researcher graduate, you will have a competitive advantage for jobs and funding, further enhanced by your communication and data design skills, applied to writing applications.

These transferrable skills will be of great value if you wish to develop an academic research career, or pursue a science-related career in other sectors.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in one of the following areas:

  • Biomedical or Medical sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Psychology

Your honours degree subject must be appropriate for the specific research project you are interested in.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Successful applicants, who meet all necessary eligibility requirements, and are selected following interview, will receive a fully funded 4-year studentship.

Funding includes:

  • payment of annual tuition fees (for national and international candidates).
  • a regular fixed sum of money for each of the 4 years of the PhD (based on UKRI minimum doctoral rate)
  • Research Training Support Grant of £5,000 per annum
  • annual Travel Grant of £450

*(Revised 11 January 2020 to include updated scholarship information.)

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Manager, Marieke Hoeve
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 9539
  • Contact:
  • University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research,
  • Queen's Medical Research Institute,
  • Edinburgh BioQuarter,
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4TJ

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

Further information

  • Programme Manager, Marieke Hoeve
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 9539
  • Contact:
  • University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research,
  • Queen's Medical Research Institute,
  • Edinburgh BioQuarter,
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4TJ