MRC AIM Doctoral Training Partnership: School of Chemistry

University of Nottingham

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Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Friday 12 January 2024
Reference:  SCI242

MRC AIM Doctoral Training Partnership

The AIM (Advanced Inter-Disciplinary Models) DTP is funded by the MRC between three Partners – the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham – and three more Associate Partners – the Research Complex at Harwell, Mary Lyon Centre and Rosalind Franklin Institute. We have a range of exciting and diverse PhD 4-year projects at all 3 partner Institutions which are now open for a September 2024 start and those available at The University of Nottingham are detailed below.

Projects with an industry partner (iCASE projects) offer a unique opportunity to undertake translational research and come with a mandatory placement requirement and an enhanced stipend.

Full information about funding of these projects and application details, including application form, plus Equality, diversity and inclusion form are available at .

Application deadline

The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, 12 January 2024. Please ensure that your application is submitted with all required documentation by the above deadline as incomplete applications will not be considered. See full details at the “how to apply” section below. After the closing date, the project supervisors will review all applications submitted for their project and shortlist a maximum of two candidates for interview.

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 9 February 2024 via email. If applicants don’t receive an email by this date, then their application has not been shortlisted and they will not be invited for interview. Unfortunately, due to the number of applications the DTP receives, it will not be possible to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.


Interviews will take place during the week commencing 26 February and will be held via Zoom. Please ensure you are available for the whole week as we are unable to offer any alternative interview dates/times.

We strongly encourage you to contact the supervisor(s) of the project in which you are interested before submitting an application. 

As stipulated by the funders, recruitment for International candidates to the DTP is capped at 30% of the whole cohort.

Academic requirement

Applicants must hold, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant subject. A master’s qualification in a related area could be beneficial, as could additional relevant research experience. 

More details can be found on the MRC website.

How to apply

Applications should include:

  • A completed application form
  • A CV consisting of no more than 2 sides of A4
  • A transcript of module marks
  • Completed ED&I form.

Please submit your application for University of Nottingham projects to [email protected] .

What happens after interview?

Candidates who are ranked highest at interview will be offered a place on the DTP and will be recommended for the PhD position. Successful candidates will then be sent details of how to make the formal application at the project host institution and will be subject to standard admissions checks which is standard procedure. The host institution admissions team will then send out formal offer letters and details of how to complete the registration process. The DTP Funding Team will send out formal funding award letters.

Projects open for application

School of Chemistry

Project Title Mechanism of Action Directed Implementation of a High Activity Anti-Pancreatic Cancer Lead

Supervisors: Simon Woodward, [email protected] 

Dr Isolda Romero-Canelón (UoB), Dr Huw Williams (UoN)


A 4-year PhD studentship is currently available in a Chemistry-Pharmacy-Bioscience team coordinated by Simon Woodward , Huw Williams and Isolda Romero-Canelón to be filled as soon as possible, for an October 2024 start.

The student will be based in both the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham and involved in research leading to a multidisciplinary PhD involving the optimisation and understanding of a unique anti-pancreatic cancer pro-drug. 

Recently, we have discovered a new and unusual titanium-based compound that shows dramatic activity against therapeutically highly challenging pancreatic cancer cell lines (link1 , link2 ).  Preliminary evidence suggests our compound achieves this by a complex cell signalling process. This MRC-backed PhD will untangle how this is achieved, giving the candidate exceptional skills in medicinal chemistry, cancer biology and ultra-high field multi-nuclear biological NMR in a new and exciting area.  

Training will alternate between Birmingham and Nottingham leading to skills in practical chemistry and biology, advanced instrumentation and theory.

The successful candidate will come from a background in chemistry, pharmacy, bioscience or medicine and will be curious to explore new avenues in cancer biology and advance unusual agents towards their use in the clinic.

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