Description of programme

This 4ward North PhD Scheme in Northern England brings exciting research opportunities to the brightest clinical Health Professionals. We operate a feeder year for selection followed by a PhD.

Year 1: the lead-in selection year

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

The process (for 2021/22)

  • November 2021: Stage 1 applications open (the Stage 1 application form comprises CV information and a vision statement).
  • Monday 6th December 2021, 9am: Applicants submit their Stage 1 application form to
  • Week commencing 13th December 2021: Applicants contacted with Stage 1 application outcome
  • December 2021 onwards: Applicants shortlisted for Stage 2 prepare their PhD application, specifically detailing interactions and co-supervision across N4, patient and public involvement and public engagement. Applicants will scope their project and supervisory team and will be invited to a virtual meeting with a panel of programme directors and supervisors to develop their project (week commencing 10th January 2022)
  • Monday 14th March 2022, 9am: Applicants submit their Stage 2 application form (available shortly). 
  • Late April 2022: Following peer review and interview by the programme directors, up to five applicants will be selected for the PhD programme based on ‘person-place-project’.

A local programme director will be assigned to each appointed fellow and in partnership will develop a Personalized Training Programme (PTP) exploiting collaboration opportunities across the N4 and potentially further afield.

Years 2-4:   The 4Ward North 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 local 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.

Year 4:  PhD completion and transition to postdoctoral clinical academic career

Each fellow will be supported to ensure timely completion of their PhD, and this will lead into the start of a postdoctoral clinical academic 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 and NIHR.  

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