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Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield

4Ward North Clinical PhD Academy

Description of Programme

This 4ward North Wellcome Clinical PhD Scheme in Northern England brings exciting research opportunities to the brightest clinical trainees.

We operate a feeder year for selection followed by a 3-year PhD directed by the four trainees.

Year 1:   the lead-in selection year

The aim of Year 1, during which time trainees will remain in their current roles (e.g. clinical training), is to identify a supervisory team and develop a scientific question that will underpin their fellowship application.  It encouraged that the supervisory team is comprised of supervisors from more than one 4ward North Institution.

The process (for 2018/19)

  • July: Open competition by national advert selects 20 trainees based on CV and vision statement.
  • July onwards: Trainees will use study leave or ACF allocations to scope their project and supervisory team via one-to-one advisory meetings with the programme directors, ‘speed-meeting’ with supervisors at the launch event on 10th July 2018 and meetings with individual research groups (book here to attend the launch event.)
  • 10th July - 1st October: Trainees select lead and co-supervisor(s), including at least one leading clinician, and submit their Stage 1 application form.
  • Up to 28th January 2019: Trainees shortlisted for Stage 2 prepare their PhD application, specifically detailing interactions and co-supervision across N4, patient and public involvement and public engagement (PE) (deadline 28th January 2019).
  • April: Following peer review, interview by the four programme directors and others as appropriate (e.g. FCI member), five trainees will be selected for the 3-year PhD programme based on ‘person-place-project’.

A lead programme director will be assigned to each appointed fellow and in partnership develop a Personalized Training Programme (PTP) exploiting opportunities across the N4 and potentially further afield (e.g. the Francis Crick Institute).

Years 2-4:   The Wellcome Trust clinical PhD cohorts

The fellow will register for a PhD at one of the four Academy institutions.  In addition to the support and training offered by the individual institutions, our fellows will also benefit from the collaborative ethos of N4.  Each fellow will have:

  • Honorary contracting between N4 partners to improve the research experience and opportunities (e.g. access to centres of excellence and facilities as if one institution) or, clinically, to maintain competencies (e.g. in craft specialties).
  • ‘Open door’ access to their appointed lead programme director.
  • An integrated training programme comprising, amongst others, a seminar series delivered by guest FCI staff, updates on fellows' research progress, networking opportunities with both Academy supervisors, and industry partners, and an annual conference.
  • Prizes will be awarded for the best research outputs in the preceding 12 months. We will join up some events with other successful Wellcome clinical schemes.

Year 4:  PhD completion and transition to postdoctoral clinician-scientist career

Each fellow will be supported to ensure timely completion of their PhD, and this will lead into the start of a postdoctoral clinician-scientist career.

For those who do not make the final 5 ?

This is one of the major advantages of this scheme. Applicants who do not make it through to stage 2 will continue to benefit from gaining advice, guidance and mentorship through the application process for equivalent research training awards from other funders, such as MRC.  


4ward North Clinical PhD Academy

Vision:    A Wellcome Trust programme to catalyse transformation of clinical academic training in northern England 

Latest Update

Keynote Speaker at the 4ward North Fellows Event

Professor Simon Boulton, Senior Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute gave the keynote lecture at the 4ward North Fellows meeting on the 15 December 2017 in Leeds.  The lecture formed part of a larger event for our 4ward North Academy Fellows aimed to help them develop their PhD fellowship applications.

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