PhD Applications have now closed.  Please refer to dates below with regards to shortlisting for interview.

Application Deadlines and Processes

  • Please complete all sections of the application form in full
  • Applications must be submitted through our student recruitment portal system

Click here to submit your application. 

Important Dates for Your Diary

  • Friday 3 January 2020 - Applications Close, 2100 hours, GMT
  • Monday 6 - Tuesday 28 January 2020 - Selected candidates to undergo pre-skype interviews with Group Leader
  • Wednesday 29 - Friday 31 January 2020 - Selected candidates contacted and invited for face to face interview
  • Monday 10 February 2020 - If you have not been contacted by this date unfortunately your application has not been successful on this occasion
  • Tuesday 18 February 2020 - Face to Face interviews, Alderley Park, Cheshire
  • Wednesday 19 - Wednesday 26 February - Interviewees informed of successful/unsuccessful outcome
  • Wednesday 15 July 2020 - Deadline for successful candidate to make their PhD application to the University of Manchester
  • 1 - 30 September 2020 - University of Manchester PhD registration
  • 1 October 2020 - PhD commencement date


The shortlisting process will begin following application closure, and selected candidates may be invited to participate in a pre-selection Skype interview. Please create a Skype account and give details on the application form so we can contact you if you are selected. The Skype interview will be for 15-30 minutes formatted as either a discussion or a short review of a recent scientific publication (abstract/letter) between you and the recruiting Group Leader.  You will be contacted via email beforehand to set up a convenient date and time for this to take place. It is expected this process will take up to two weeks to complete.

Following Skype, candidates reaching the next stage and successfully shortlisted for face to face interview will be contacted via email. Skype contact does not pre-empt the requirement for a face to face interview and is also not a guarantee that you will be selected to attend in person for interview.  If you are not successfully invited for face to face interview following Skype, we will provide written constructive feedback within the next 2-3 weeks.  

Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive we are unable to answer individual emails regarding shortlisting or provide feedback on your application unless you have reached the Skype stage. If you have not been contacted within 4-6 weeks following the application deadline, then your application has unfortunately not been successful on this occasion.


Successful candidates will be contacted and invited to attend the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute for face to face interview on the specified date. Applicants invited for face to face interview will be expected to attend in person unless there are extenuating circumstances e.g. location or visa implications.  Under these circumstance it may be possible to undergo a further Skype interview during which you must give the paper critique presentation.

During the interview, we aim not only to find the best candidates, but also to help potential students to find out more about the Institute, our supervisors, and the projects on offer. We feel strongly that interviews should be a two way process as a successful PhD is forged through a good match between student, project, and supervisor.

Time is scheduled to talk to the potential supervisor, and there is also ample opportunity to chat to some of our graduate students and research fellows. As part of the interview process, candidates are asked to present a short critique (10 minutes plus 5 minutes for audience questions) on a pre-selected research paper which will be forwarded by email approximately 1-2 weeks before the interview. We ask for a review of a research paper because we feel that this allows all candidates to have an equal opportunity, irrespective of their academic background and laboratory experience to showcase their enthusiasm around a subject area. Our aim is to assess whether you think deeply about your science, can communicate it, and if you have a passion for the subject. Shortlisted candidates will be forwarded a selection of recent papers from which only one must be chosen to critique. Selected papers will be sent upon interview acceptance.

There will be a 15 minute 1:1 interview with two-three members of our Education Committee, who represent the welfare of students within the CRUK Manchester Institute.

Travel expenses, including low cost air fare or second-class rail, will be reimbursed upon production of original receipts.  Accommodation, where required, will be booked and paid for by the CRUK MI for interviewees only.  Any additional travelling persons will be expected to fund their own travel, accommodation, and incidental expenses.

Some candidates may be invited to return and visit individual labs the following day to have further discussions with lab members or the group leader. This does not indicate that you have been successful, but simply that further time is required before a final decision can be made. Similarly, if you are not invited back on day two, this is not indicative that you have been unsuccessful.

All candidates will be invited to a social event following interview, accompanied by some of our current postgraduate students.  Accommodation will therefore be arranged for the evening and will be located around the restaurant venue.