Postgraduate study

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence MScR, PhD with Integrated Study

Awards: MScR, PhD with Integrated Study

Funding opportunities


The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence grows from the realisation that AI technologies will play a central role leveraging data to transform our understanding and practice of biomedicine. Delivering such a step change will require training a new cadre of scientists operating at the intersection of computer science and biomedicine, building AI systems which are effective, ethical and empowering to scientists and users alike.

The CDT offers an interdisciplinary training programme covering technical AI skills, biomedical foundations and individually tailored training on understanding the societal aspects of Biomedical AI. It builds on a collaboration between several centres of excellence within the University with a long history of collaboration: the School of Informatics, the School of Biological Sciences, the MRC Institute of Genetics and Cancer, the Usher Institute of Population Health Science and Informatics, and the School of Social and Political Sciences. Together, these institutes provide a unique breadth and depth of expertise, as well as state-of-the-art computational and experimental facilities, to support the CDT cohorts.

Additionally, leading clinical, industrial and international academic partners will provide students with opportunities for hands-on application in a broad variety of contexts.

The CDT programme follows 1+3 format. In Year 1 you will study towards a Master by Research, undertaking a number of taught courses and research projects. In Year 2-4 you will propose and pursue an interdisciplinary PhD project under the joint supervision of an AI expert and an application domain expert.

MSc by Research

This programme involves a larger element of research than conventional masters: out of 180 credits, 120 are awarded for project work. The programme will launch with a week-long bootcamp, in which you will visit the participating institutes, get to know potential supervisors and participate in workshops and cohort-building activities.

You will take 60 credits worth of taught modules on AI, biomedical sciences and responsible research and innovation. The precise split between these three areas will depend on your background. The CDT team will provide you with advice on choosing the training modules, as well as support throughout.

You will also complete two sizeable projects: a group project worth 20 credits on a data modelling challenge set by a collaborating lab or industrial partner, and an interdisciplinary individual project worth 80 credits (your main MSc project). Both projects will involve an open-ended element, and it is expected that in many cases original results will be achieved which will then inform the choice of a PhD topic.

The MScR will be an opportunity to acquire new technical and research skills. CDT students will be expected to achieve an average mark of 65% or more, and show an aptitude to research in their project


Following successful completion of your Master by Research, you will proceed to an interdisciplinary PhD project. You will find supervisors (your MSc experience will help there!) and write a short proposal within the first month of PhD. Your supervisors will help you develop your proposal, and further feedback will be given by the CDT board.

During your PhD you will be embedded in local research groups, and there will be plenty of opportunities to showcase your work at local, national and international conferences and events. You will also be encouraged to undertake research visits and internships with our partners.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this is for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Programme Structure

Leading clinical, industrial and international academic partners will provide students with opportunities for hands-on application in a broad variety of contexts.

All students will be expected to undertake a placement during their PhD: this may be in the form of a secondment/internship with NHS or our industry partners such as Canon Medical and Optos, or a research visit to collaborating international research groups.

Strong technical skills are essential to become a successful researcher, but on their own they might not be sufficient. Researchers in Biomedical AI will also need to excel at a range of other abilities, from effective interdisciplinary communication, to shaping policy and public understanding of science. To address these training needs, we have developed a rich programme of training opportunities, which includes tailored courses, masterclasses and workshops delivered within the university and by our external partners.

You will be able to select your own training programme, in consultation with your supervisor, and build up your cross-disciplinary skills that will serve you well throughout your future career.

CDT students will have access to state of the art computational facilities at the School of Informatics, commensurate to its standing as one of the world's leading computer science institutions. These include a diverse range of compute clusters for compute and data-intensive work and a dedicated, world famous centre for high-performance computing (Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, EPCC) that enables high-level grid computing, data integration, computer simulation and process optimisation. A number of our industrial partners provide in-kind support to the CDT in the form of compute credits, GPU hardware, and access to proprietary datasets.

Additionally, the University has state-of-the-art facilities for high throughput biology (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics), including world leading genome synthesis and single-cell 'omics facilities. CDT students will have access to an unparalleled wealth of clinical and non-clinical data, including electronic health records and large population screening data.

Career opportunities for CDT graduates are broad and favourable. Biomedical AI is expected to be a sector of particular growth in the near to medium term, as highlighted in several governmental reports (Industrial Strategy, Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, etc) as well as major industrial players (Association of British Pharma Industry, Glaxo-Smith-Klein strategic report 2018). According to the EU patent office, the Med-Tech sector filed the largest number of new patents in 2017 than any sector.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ.

Please note 2023/24 is the final year of entry for this CDT programme.

A UK 2.1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering or a related discipline.

Applicants with UK 2.1 honours degrees, or its international equivalent, in biomedical science are also considered.

Applicants coming directly from a bachelors or masters degree are welcome.

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

We 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 Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

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:

Our 4-year studentships cover:

  • tuition fees
  • stipend at UKRI level
  • an allowance for travel/research costs

Funding is open to UK, EU and international students.

Studentships also include funding for:

  • sick leave
  • maternity, paternity or shared parental leave
  • disabled students' allowance

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your tuition fee status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • UKRI CDT in Biomedical AI
  • Informatics Forum
  • 10 Crichton St
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AB

Application deadline: 31 May 2023

Only applications that are fully complete at the deadline will progress to the Academic Selection stage.

Please note: 2023/24 is the final year of entry for this CDT programme.

You must submit an application via the application portal and provide the required information and documentation. This will include submission of:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • research proposal (2 to 5 pages long)
  • degree certificates and official transcripts of all completed and in-progress degrees (plus certified translations if academic documents are not issued in English)
  • two academic references

Only complete applications are passed on to the Academic Selection stage.

Successful applicants will be admitted to the MScR programme.

Upon successful completion of the MScR year, and upon meeting PhD progression requirements, you will be progressed to the BiomedAI PhD programme.

Find out more about the application process for this programme on the Centre for Doctoral Training Biomedical AI website:

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

Further information

  • UKRI CDT in Biomedical AI
  • Informatics Forum
  • 10 Crichton St
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AB