PhD Opportunities / Monday, 13 February, 2017

Two PhD studentships within the UK Colorectal Cancer Intelligence Hub




Each year in the UK around 41,000 people are diagnosed with the disease and 16,000 die from it. It is estimated that detecting and managing the illness costs the NHS in excess of £1.1 billion annually and, in parallel, the research community puts significant resource and effort into understanding, detecting and managing the disease. Despite this investment, survival rates are poor and there remain major variations in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.

It is recognised that high quality data are essential to improving outcomes.  Good cancer intelligence underpins patient choice, identifies and quantifies inequalities, improves the cost-effectiveness and quality of services and supports cancer research. Unfortunately, the availability of such high-quality cancer intelligence has been limited.

A new Cancer Research UK programme of research at the University of Leeds seeks to rectify this by robustly linking and analysing multiple routine data sources to enable scrutiny of colorectal cancer services. The Programme will securely and anonymously link together routine datasets (from sources such as primary cancer registries, hospitals, screening programmes, clinical trials, biobanks, social media, etc.) to generate a population-based resource containing information on all individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the UK. These ‘big’ and ‘real world’ data offer enormous potential and will be exploited for numerous studies that will provide evidence to:

We are able to offer 2 PhD studentships in 2017 within this programme of work.  We are looking for exceptionally high calibre students with an interest in using ‘big data’ to improve cancer outcomes.  The successful candidates will be able to select a project from within this wide-ranging cancer intelligence programme that best suit their interests. These positions offer an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting edge applied health research funded by the largest independent cancer research charity in the world.

To discuss potential projects or just found out more about the studentships please contact Amy or Eva from the study team in the first instance.

Dr Amy Downing – – 0113 206 8990

Prof Eva Morris – – 0113 2026 8958

Dr Amy Downing, Prof Eva Morris and appropriate members of the multidisciplinary UK Colorectal Cancer Intelligence Hub Investigator team will supervise the successful candidates. The most appropriate supervisory team will be selected for the students based on their area of interest and the PhD topic they choose.

Two full time PhD studentships are available for UK and EU citizens only. Cancer Research UK sponsorship includes a generous tax free stipend (currently £19,000 for 2016/17) for up to 4 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees. The standard period of study for this PhD is 3 years, however the funding will also support successful candidates for an additional 12 months during their writing up period, up until their thesis deadline.

Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who have, or are expected to obtain, a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant discipline, and who are highly committed to pursuing a PhD in applied cancer research.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:


Research Environment

The studentships will be based within the multidisciplinary Institute of Data Analytics ( at the University of Leeds.  From here they will be able to work in partnership with scientists and clinicians in the Institute for Cancer and Pathology but also with those from elsewhere in the Faculty of Medicine (e.g. Institutes of Health Sciences, Clinical Trials Research) or wider University (e.g. Maths, Engineering, Geography) as appropriate.


How to apply: 

To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Friday 17 March 2017.

If you have already applied for other scholarships using the Faculty Scholarship Application form you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email to inform us you would like to be considered for this scholarship project.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to


Closing date for this studentship is Friday 17 March 2017



Cancer Research UK