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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute



The MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair offers fully-funded PhD positions to motivated students to undertake a PhD at the University of Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge is exceptional in the depth and diversity of its research in Myelin biology and multiple sclerosis (MS) and has a dynamic and interactive research community that is ranked amongst the foremost in the world. By bringing together members of both the Schools of Biological Science and Clinical Medicine, this four-year MRes + PhD programme will enable you to take advantage of the strength and breadth of MS and myelin biology research available in Cambridge.

This studentship programme is modelled on the extremely successful 4 - year Wellcome PhD programme in Stem Cell Biology.

  • Choose from a range of host laboratories in which to perform 3 rotations in year one, with a possibility of student visit rotations to laboratories in the accompanying MS Centre at the University of Edinburgh. 
  • Learn a variety of practical techniques, including advanced imaging, animal and human induced pluripotent stem cell disease models. 
  • Study fundamental aspects of myelin biology and MS-related clinical research through lab rotations. 
  • Learn stem cell biology and medicine, as well as translational neuroscience through a series of teaching modules led by leaders in the field, by attending the taught courses on the Wellcome PhD Programme in Stem Cell Biology & Medicine course and Translational Neuroscience Master Course.


Learning Outcomes

The first year of the programme works towards a Master of Research in Biological Science and is made up of three 10-week rotation projects within the Centre and collaborating laboratories, and taught courses in Stem Cell Biology (with the Wellcome PhD programme) and Translational Neuroscience (master programme). This MRes year is mostly research-based, with some weekly seminars and discussion courses. By the end of this programme, students will have:

  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research;
  • demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Neuroscience, stem cell biology myelin biology and multiple sclerosis;
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
  • demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and
  • demonstrated ability to effectively communicate their data to their peers, both in the production of high-quality written reports and effective and informative oral presentations.



Continuation onto the PhD in year 2 is conditional; students must pass the MRes in year one (receiving the Master of Research in Biological Science (Stem Cell Biology) and Translational Neuroscience programmes). This final assessment is made at an MRes viva held at the end of year one, where the rotation project reports and a PhD proposal report are discussed at length between the student and internal and external assessors. Continuation recommendations are then passed onto the relevant degree committee for approval.

The PhD project must be linked to the vision set out in the CCMR renewal and each project will be supervised by at least two CCMR PIs or collaborators. During the three years of the PhD project, students will present their work at the monthly scientific meetings to all PIs and postdocs at the centre. For the duration of the PhD, student progress will be monitored by the steering committee to ensure all students are on track and provided sufficient mentoring and support.


Funding Opportunities

This programme is fully-funded for four years by the MS Society, at the 'Home' Fee rate. International students should tick the box in the online postgraduate application form (by the relevant deadline), to apply for a Cambridge Trust Scholarship to cover the difference between the 'Home' and 'Overseas' Fee rate.


More information

For further information, please contact:


Please find more details and apply here.



- Do I need to complete an application through the University's Applicant Portal?

Yes. All applications must go through the University's Applicant Portal.

- What is the University Course Code for the PhD+MRes with MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair studentship?


- I already have a Masters Degree - do I have to do the rotations in year 1?

Yes. All students must take the MRes course in year one, which includes rotating in 3 different labs (of your choice).

- Can I just take the MRes course, but not the full PhD?

No. This Programme is only suitable for candidates wanting to complete the full Four-Year Programme. We do not offer the MRes course on it's own, so those candidates searching just for a Masters course will need to view the online course directory.

- How many places are available on this PhD Programme?

We have up to 2 places available on this Programme for candidates with a keen interest in MS or myelin biology, coupled with an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience, Life Sciences or related degrees at a minimum of upper second-class UK Bachelor’s level or overseas equivalent.

- Can International students apply for this PhD Programme?

Yes, students of any nationality are eligible to apply for this PhD programme. International students should tick the box in the online postgraduate application form (by the relevant deadline) to apply for a Cambridge Trust Scholarship to cover the difference between the 'Home' and 'Overseas' Fee rate. Further information about fees status can be found here

- Do I need to take a language test?

No, not at application stage. If you are interviewed and offered a conditional place on the programme, you will be given a "pre-offer language condition". You would then need to arrange and pass a language test before being given a confirmed offer.

- Where can I apply to for funding to cover my "Overseas fees"?

International students will have to find their own funding to cover the 'overseas fees'. There are University of Cambridge Scholarships you can apply for. For funding opportunities and the respective deadlines see here. You need to apply for these within your main PhD application (there is a section specifically to apply for Cambridge Scholarship funding).