4Ward North PhD Programme for Health Professionals

An exceptional programme led by four of the UK’s top universities.



The 4Ward North PhD Academy for Health Professionals has been created thanks to a £7.5 million award from Wellcome for the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield to combine their strengths in biomedical and health research.

Our aim is to enhance the quality of clinical academic research training in northern England. We do this by encouraging applications from a diverse and inclusive range of healthcare professionals, including nursing, midwifery, and allied health.

We especially seek to support those from non-traditional backgrounds to develop their academic research careers.



About the programme

We will make 25 funded PhD fellowships available over five years. Successful applicants will become 4Ward North PhD fellows, a prestigious marker of esteem for a future career combining research with clinical practice.

4Ward North PhD Fellowships are three years in duration and should include supervision from at least two of the 4Ward North institutions.

Each individual PhD will be hosted by one of our four institutions: The University of Manchester, the University of Leeds, Newcastle University and The University of Sheffield.

We will collaborate with the Francis Crick Institute (FCI) in London, The Alan Turing Institute and the Nuffield Research Placements (NRP) Programme over training opportunities both during and after the PhD programme.

Those successful in securing a fellowship from the Academy will receive:

  • a training programme with leading clinical academics and bespoke mentoring;
  • an opportunity to compete for our Leading Scholars’ Programme in collaboration with the FCI, which offers 12 months of research support immediately after the PhD to pump-prime postdoctoral clinical career development applications;
  • a key skills development opportunity by supervising and mentoring NRP students.

Those who are shortlisted but are not successful in securing a fellowship will receive:

  • help in building their project;
  • guidance, advice and mentorship through the application process for an equivalent research training award from other funders.


We welcome applications from actively practicing healthcare professionals from all clinical areas. The programme is open to UK-based applicants.

Fellows recruited to a programme must have completed their undergraduate degree, and must be practicing healthcare professionals and be registered with a professional regulatory body in the UK/Republic of Ireland, such as the General Medical Council or the Health and Care Professions Council.

Medical graduates must be registered on a UK/Republic of Ireland specialist training programme or must be a registered GP.

Eligible healthcare professionals include those practicing in:

  • nursing
  • midwifery
  • allied healthcare professions
  • pharmacy and healthcare sciences
  • veterinary medicine
  • dental and medical specialties.

The maximum award available for each fellowship is capped (current salary/registration fees and reasonable running costs).

Your research must be within the Wellcome research remit. However, we also welcome applications that move discovery science along the translational pathway.

You may have previously undertaken published research, written up case reports, and/or undertaken research as part of your degree. However, we aim to support a diverse and inclusive range of healthcare professionals to embark on a research career. So, if you have not had opportunities to develop your research for publication so far, we will take this into account when assessing your application.

How to apply

The application process at 4Ward North has two stages.

At Stage 1, applicants are asked to provide CV information and a vision statement. At Stage 2, shortlisted candidates will detail their research project and supervisory team.

After a final shortlisting, we hold in-person interviews and select five to six candidates to become 4Ward North PhD Fellows.

Our scheme is unique in that our aim is to help all shortlisted candidates. This includes providing support for unsuccessful Stage 2 candidates to secure clinical PhD Fellowships elsewhere.

Call for applications will open on Thursday, 25 July 2024.

Key dates

  • Deadline for Stage 1 applications: Monday, 30 September 2024
  • Stage 1 outcomes communicated: Week beginning 21 October 2024
  • Advice panels for Stage 2 applicants: Week beginning 4 November 2024
  • Deadline for Stage 2 applicants: Monday, 27 January 2025
  • Stage 2 outcomes communicated: Week beginning 24 February 2025
  • Interviews: Friday, 28 March 2025


4Ward North Fellows need to have a minimum of two supervisors from a minimum of two 4Ward North institutions (The University of Manchester, The University of Leeds, Newcastle University and The University of Sheffield).

Other members of the supervisory team can be from external institutions and should have an excellent track record of PhD supervision. All supervisors should be chosen because of the relevance of their specialty to the proposed PhD project.

If you require any help in identifying potential supervisors for your project, please contact your local 4Ward North Director.

Academy leadership

4Ward North is led by a board and executive management team.

Executive management team

Comprises the eight Academy Directors and a Programme Manager.

Professor Anne Barton

Professor Anne Barton.Professor of Rheumatology, University of Manchester

View Anne’s profile

Professor Dame Nicky Cullum

Professor of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester
View Nicky’s profile

Professor Hemant Pandit

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Leeds
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 
View Hemant’s profile

Professor Ann Morgan

Professor of Rheumatology and Hon. Consultant Rheumatologist, University of Leeds
View Ann’s profile

Prof Nils Krone

Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology, University of Sheffield
View Nils’ profile

Professor Alison Condliffe

Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Sheffield
View Alison’s profile

Professor Justin Durham

Professor of Orofacial Pain, Newcastle University and Hon. Consultant Oral Surgeon
View Justin’s profile

Dr Laura Jardine

Associate Clinical Lecturer in Haematology, University of Newcastle

View Laura’s profile

Dr Saini Manninen

Saini Manninen.4Ward North Programme Manager

Email: N4@manchester.ac.uk


Includes the four University Deans and the nominated lead Postgraduate Dean (PGD) for clinical training.

Professor Mark Kearney

Professor Mark KearneyExecutive Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds

View Mark’s profile


Professor David Burn

Professor David BurnPro-Vice Chancellor, Newcastle University

View David’s profile

Professor Graham Lord

Professor Graham LordVice President and Dean, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester

View Graham’s profile

Professor Chris Newman

Professor Chris NewmanDean of Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, The University of SheffieldView Chris’s profile

Academy fellows

See profiles of our Academy Fellows, including project details.


There are opportunities for our Academy Fellows to both supervise young students on research placements and take up a post-PhD placement with the Francis Crick Institute.

During your PhD

Supervising Nuffield Research Placements (NRPs)

Supported by the Nuffield Foundation and UKRI, NRPs provide real-life research placement opportunities to 1,000 Year 12 (16 to 17-year-old) students from low socio-economic and/or first in family backgrounds from across the UK to support their progression to STEM further study or employment.

During the second and/or third year, successful 4Ward North PhD Academy fellows will become placement providers and supervise one or more students for 2-3 weeks over the summer.

As placement providers, fellows will:

  • receive full training and support from a local NRP regional coordinator to understand programme requirements and expectations;
  • develop key mentoring, coaching and management skills while building relationships with future researchers;
  • work with bright, capable students to gain valuable assistance with project work;
  • help inspire the next generation of STEM researchers;
  • forge strong links with schools and colleges in local area and fulfil public engagement or outreach goals.

More information can be found in our PDF leaflet. There is also further information on the Nuffield Research Placements website, and regular communications will be provided throughout the fellowship.

Contact us

For more information about our programme or the training we offer, please contact the Programme Manager by emailing N4@manchester.ac.uk.

For any specific local queries, please contact one of the following staff from each institution.

University of Leeds  

Jo Bentley
Email: n4leeds@leeds.ac.uk

The University of Manchester

Dr Saini Manninen
Email: n4@manchester.ac.uk

Newcastle University

Sharon Gilmore
Email: n4academy@newcastle.ac.uk

The University of Sheffield

Jodie Burnham
Email: n4@sheffield.ac.uk

The University of Sheffield logo.

Newcastle University logo.

University of Leeds logo.

The University of Manchester logo.