skip to content

Postgraduate Admissions

About the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The recent explosion of genomics has led to a rapid increase in data describing the genetic landscape of disease. There remains however a huge gap in translating those data into mechanistic understanding of how genetic changes actually cause human disease. Filling this gap will require understanding of both molecules and patients. CIMR's mission is to contribute to this effort by determining the molecular mechanisms of human disease in order to develop targeted therapeutic strategies.

Located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, CIMR's 24 research groups are led by a mixture of clinical and non-clinical Principal Investigators. World-leading expertise in protein structure and homeostasis, membrane trafficking and organelle biology is applied across infectious, immune, neurological and haematological diseases, with a particular interest in rare genetic disorders. In several cases, these efforts are leading to new treatments and diagnostics, with several spin-out companies and drug discovery programmes established.

Dedicated core facilities at CIMR include proteomics, microscopy, bioinformatics, flow cytometry and structural biology. The Institute is also committed to diversity and inclusion, with an emphasis on a positive research culture and impactful public engagement. Postgraduate training for non-clinical and clinical students is an important part of CIMR. Our 38 PhD and two MPhil students benefit from the supportive, collaborative environment of the Institute and from the wider School of Clinical Medicine.

2 courses offered in the* Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK and provides a unique interface between clinical and basic biomedical science. Its major goal is to determine and understand the molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. The strength of the institute is that members work on a variety of diseases using a wide range of methodologies which makes it a superb place for graduate training in biological and medical sciences. CIMR has around 25 group leaders working in a range of disease mechanisms, ranging from neurodegenerative disease, haematological disorders, immunological and infectious diseases to cancer.

Research in CIMR is focused on fundamental cell biological processes, with particular emphasis on membrane trafficking, organelle function, protein homeostasis and folding, the cytoskeleton and autophagy.

The Cambridge Institute offers a one-year full-time MPhil programme of research under an individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option for over two years.  During their MPhil, the students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor and the CIMR Graduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined coursework, but students are encouraged to attend research seminars at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and graduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a thesis, which is examined via an oral examination.

More Information

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK and provides a unique interface between clinical and basic biomedical science. Its major goal is to determine and understand the molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. The strength of the institute is that members work on a variety of diseases using a wide range of methodologies, which makes it a superb place for graduate training in biological and medical sciences. CIMR has around 25 group leaders working in a range of disease mechanisms, ranging from neurodegenerative disease, haematological disorders, immunological and infectious diseases to cancer.

Research in CIMR is focused on fundamental cell biological processes, with particular emphasis on membrane trafficking, organelle function, protein homeostasis and folding, the cytoskeleton and autophagy.

The Cambridge Institute offers a three-year full-time PhD programme of research under the individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option for over six years. The PhD students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor, their graduate adviser, and the CIMR Graduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined course work, but students can take part in core topic discussion sessions held once a week by PIs in CIMR.

Along with the specific research training provided in the laboratory in which the student works, he or she receives further training within the CIMR in the form of graduate workshops concentrating on research techniques, research seminars both on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and graduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a dissertation, which is examined via an oral examination.

More Information

1 course also advertised in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

From the Department of Clinical Biochemistry

The Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians is currently under consideration of renewal for October 2022 intake. More information on the outcome of that decision will be known in the Autumn of 2021 and an announcement will be added to this website if successful. If renewed, the course will be opened for applications for academic year 2022 via the postgraduate online portal from ~1 September 2021. Please send queries to Teresa Wallman, Administrator (tdw30@medschl.cam.ac.uk).

It is essential that young clinicians with aptitude are able to receive high-quality research training in clinical science, representing as they do the future of academic medicine. We can offer training in an outstanding environment in subjects that span the research spectrum from basic science to epidemiology and public health.

We take great pride in our track record of successfully training clinicians to undertake the highest quality biomedical research and the Schools of Clinical Medicine and Biological Sciences, together with the MRC, Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK institutes, offer one of the most rewarding environments in which you could pursue your research training.

Principal Investigators in the Programme provide mentoring, workshops and mini-projects in order to allow successful candidates to make an informed choice of PhD project and supervisor that are tailored to the interests of the candidate. This novel approach to the training of clinical scientists aims to provide the support and mentoring required to allow clinical academics to reach their full potential and pursue a successful academic career. We fully recognise that each individual will have a different background and current training position. Some will be academic clinical fellows whilst others will be on standard training programmes. Equally some individuals who are interested in epidemiology and public health or computational biology/bioinformatics may wish to undertake a taught MPhil to obtain sufficient knowledge before embarking on their PhD. These can all be accommodated within the Cambridge scheme. All we ask is academic excellence, hard work and the will to make a difference to your chosen profession.

More Information

Department Members


Professor Julian Rayner
Head of Department

  • 25 Academic Staff
  • 107 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 45 Graduate Students

http://www.cimr.cam.ac.uk/

Research Areas