TRACC Programme MB-PhD or BDS-PhD

PhD opportunities for MBChB or BDS students

Launched in 2019-2020, the Cancer Research UK-funded TRACC MB-PhD / BDS-PhD scheme offers a new and exciting opportunity for bright, motivated and enthusiastic medical or dental students to gain top quality research training as well as securing clinical qualification. The scheme is designed not only to offer PhD training integrated in a clinical medical or dental degree, but also, critically, to maximise retention of participants within medical research. It is envisioned that Programme alumni will become the academic clinical leaders in cancer research in the future. Selected applicants will be trained in cutting edge practical scientific and analytic skills with a focus on scientific excellence, while gaining in-depth understanding of the rigour, discipline and precision required for translational research. The outcomes of the students' research are expected to be published in high profile medical/scientific journals. Many projects will focus directly on aspects of cancer pathogenesis or treatment, while others may focus on acquiring high level skills that are applicable to important questions in cancer research in the longer term.

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Course Summary

The TRACC MB-PhD / BDS-PhD programme enables 3rd year MBChB or BDS students to enter a 3-year PhD training at the end of their intercalated year before re-integration into the MBChB or BDS course (see schematic below). Close mentorship by TRACC leaders will be a feature of the programme, right from the PhD selection process, through the PhD project, to MBChB or BDS course completion and beyond in the postgraduate phase, to maximise the chance of sustained academic career success. PhD research is undertaken within groups and centres/institutes associated with the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences in Glasgow or the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh (for more details see the Research Training Environment section). Special emphasis is placed on cross-city interactions, which will include collaborative projects in some cases, joint symposia and multiple other activities bringing together MB-PhD / BDS-PhD students, clinical research fellows and other researchers/clinicians from both cities. As well as benefiting from the vibrant cancer research community across Edinburgh and Glasgow, MB-PhD and BDS-PhD students will additionally be encouraged to network with MB-PhD students in other UK centres.

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Schematic illustrating timeframe for TRACC Programme MB PhD / BDS PhD within medical training


The TRACC MB-PhD / BDS-PhD programme is available to students who are currently undertaking an intercalated medical or dental degree (MBChB or BDS) at the University of Glasgow or the University of Edinburgh. External candidates can be considered only in exceptional circumstances and should consult with the Programme administrator before applying. Particular attention will be paid during the selection process to prior experience of scientific research (e.g. from intercalated degrees and summer research studentships).

TRACC MB-PhD / BDS-PhD Information session:

Important Dates for Admission

2024 Entry in Glasgow
MB-PhD / BDS-PhD Expression of interest should be send by e-mail to Professor Richard Wilson or Dr Jackie Beesley
Application closing date: 02 April 2024 
Interview date: 07 May 2024 
Start of (optional) summer mini projects: June 2024
Start of the PhD project: August 2024
For information on admissions into the Edinburgh arm of the TRACC Programme MB-PhD scheme please visit:


To apply for an MB PhD or BDS PhD position in Glasgow please submit your completed document TRACC Programme application form (342 KB) and accompanying documents to before the application deadline.

Informal enquires can be addressed to the following key contacts:

Professor Richard Wilson
Professor Christian Delles
Dr Helen Wheadon