PhD Students at the CRUK Cambridge Institute

Students have access to a comprehensive support network, comprising academic supervisors and advisors as well as administrative and welfare professionals.


All PhD students have a Principal Supervisor, who is appointed by the Degree Committee to direct and assist them in their research. Some students may also have a second supervisor, most likely a post-doc in the Research Group who has an interest in the project and can help with day-to-day supervision. If a research project is interdisciplinary, a second supervisor with experience in the additional field may be appointed.

Postgraduate Advisor

PhD students are in addition required by the University to appoint a Postgraduate Advisor who will be able to bring sufficient expertise to their supervisory team to act as a source of advice on matters relating to their research and research environment, and to provide supervisory cover if appropriate in the absence of their Principal Supervisor.  The Postgraduate Advisor does not need to be in the student’s exact research area and can be from any department in Cambridge.

My desire to join the lab was heightened after my interview day where I experienced how well the members got along and supported one another – my number one priority in choosing a PhD lab was choosing one with a supportive environment.

Adelyne Chan, Narita Group

Thesis Advisory Committee

Once they have passed their First-Year Assessment and with the support of their Supervisor, second-year students will be asked to propose members of a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). TACs enhance the student experience by providing a more rounded and objective measure of research performance and will include members from the Institute and beyond. PhD students will discuss progress and future plans with their TAC according to a schedule of at least four meetings across their next three years of study.

Departmental Postgraduate Administrator

The Institute’s Postgraduate Education Programme is overseen by Dr Ann Kaminski, from student recruitment to thesis submission. She is the first port of call for matters that are not project-related, such as First Year Reports, thesis submissions and applying for intermission.

College Tutor

All students at the University of Cambridge have a College Tutor who has general oversight of student welfare, with regard to academic, administrative, and pastoral care.