The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute is committed to solving the problems associated with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, with graduate students playing a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes. We currently have over 60 graduate students based at our Institute, two-thirds of which come from the EU and beyond.


Professor Richard Gilbertson
Developing novel treatments for rare childhood brain tumours.
Application deadline:
12 April 2019

Professor Greg Hannon
The molecular mechanisms of piRNA biogenesis.
Application deadline: 12 April 2019

Professor Greg Hannon
The mechanisms that link piRNA-guided transposon silencing with chromatin biology.
Application deadline: 12 April 2019

PhD in Medical Science

The PhD in Medical Science course at the CRUK CI allows students to become fully embedded within their Principal Supervisor’s research team, giving them close interactions with graduate and postdoctoral colleagues. Each student will focus on a specific project aligned with the research group, enabling them to contribute to the overall objectives of both the lab and the Institute.

We expect our students to take ownership of their project, driving it forward with assistance from other members of the Institute, to encourage each student to develop the skills needed to become a successful independent researcher. Within four years of commencing study, students are supported to submit their theses and to prepare their research findings for publication in scientific journals.


Approximately half of our PhD students receive funding from Cancer Research UK. In addition, funding may be available from grants held by individual research groups. We also host Clinical Research Training Fellows and students on the Cambridge MB/PhD programme. We welcome applications from students who have won competitive studentships or fellowships.

How to apply

Prospective students can apply in response to an advertisement placed by the Institute (please follow application instructions n the advertisement).  Or if you intend applying for independent funding (or have already done so) please contact your preferred supervisor before completing an on-line application via the University of Cambridge Applicant Portal.  Please note that you may apply for both Institute funding and also an alternative independent source of funding for your studies.

MPhil in Medical Science

The MPhil in Medical Science research course at the CRUK CI integrates each student within the research team of their supervisor. Working alongside other graduate and postdoctoral colleagues, our MPhil students focus on their own projects which are expected to contribute to the advancement of the research of their group. MPhil students are encouraged to attend scientific talks of interest and appropriate training courses that support their study, as well as to participate in all aspects of graduate student life at the Institute. At the end of the study period, MPhil students are supported to write a thesis detailing their project. The Institute accepts only a few MPhil students each year, and in the main, applicants are successful if they are recognised as bringing a valuable technique or methodology to their research group.


The Institute provides a single studentship annually, so we recommend prospective students to explore alternative funding options before applying.

How to apply

Prior to submitting the University’s on-line application form, you should identify a supervisor in the Institute who is willing to host you for MPhil study.

More details about the application process, fees, and other entry requirements can be found on the graduate admissions website. The University and the CRUK Cambridge Institute value diversity and are committed to equality of opportunity.

Researcher Development

We encourage all graduate students to make full use of the range of development opportunities we offer. These include courses on statistics, bioinformatics and other research areas, as well as personal development opportunities.

All students give talks in the Wednesday Seminar Series in the Institute, with feedback provided by two group leaders to develop their presentation skills.

Students also receive public engagement training and opportunities to take part in a wide range of events from lab tours, to creating science festival activities and speaking at public events.

Graduate Society

All graduate students at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute are a part of GradSoc – the Institute’s own graduate society, run by the students for students!

GradSoc organises a range of social events for CRUK CI students throughout the year, aiming to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere to support students during their time at the Institute.

The team also organises journal clubs and meet the speaker sessions to help students develop their presentation, communication and critical reviewing skills and give graduate students the chance to network with seminar speakers in a relaxed environment.