PhD Applications are now closed as of 1700 hrs GMT 9 December 2022


Cancer Research UK PhD Application Deadlines and Processes 

Application deadline Friday 9 December 2022

The interview timeline below refers to the five 4 year PhD studentships we currently have on offer, all shortlisting and interviews for previous available studentships have taken place and studentships filled. 

  • Please complete all sections of the application form in full
  • Please complete the equality, diversity and inclusion form 
  • Applications must be submitted through our student recruitment portal system
  • Applications must be submitted before the deadline: at 1700 hrs GMT on Friday 9 December 2022
  • Late applications will not be accepted
  • Once your application has been submitted no amendments/adjustments can be made
  • Face to face interviews will be held on Tuesday 17 January 2023 - details to follow for shortlisted to interview candidates.  Candidates may also be requested to return on Wednesday 18 January 2023 to have lab tour(s) and meet research group staff and current students.

We plan to hold in-person interviews on site, however, we will take into consideration any change in circumstances at the time to ensure the safety of all concerned and in amending the interview format to virtual if deemed appropriate.  International students residing in their home country may be interviewed virtually if successful in reaching the next in-person interview stage.

Click here to submit your application. 

Important Dates for Your Diary

  • Friday 9 December 2022  -  Applications Close, 1700 hours, GMT

    STAGE 1.  Monday 12 December 2022 - Monday 2 January 2023

Selected candidates will be contacted by email and invited to undergo pre-selection zoom meeting with recruiting group leader(s).  Candidates may also be contacted prior to applications closing to undergo this process.

   STAGE 2. From Tuesday 3 January 2023 onwards

Successful pre-selected candidates will be contacted by email and invited to attend for in person interview on Tuesday 17 January 2023 at Alderley Park and possible return on Wednesday 18 January 2023 to current location of the group leader (Alderley Park, Cheshire or Oglesby Cancer Research Building, Manchester)

  STAGE 3.  Wednesday 18 January-Tuesday 31 January 2023

Interviewees informed of interview outcome.  PhD offers will be emailed to successful candidates

  • Monday 6 February 2023 

    If you have not been contacted by this date unfortunately your application has not been successful on this occasion.

  • Friday 28 July 2023

    Deadline for successful candidates to make their PhD application to the University of Manchester   

  • 1-30 September 2023

     University of Manchester PhD registration

  • 1 October 2023

     PhD commencement date

For April 2023 commencement the above University application and registration dates will differ.


Stage 1 - Pre-selection

The shortlisting process will usually begin following application closure, however you may be contacted sooner and selected candidates invited to participate in a pre-selection zoom meeting.  This pre-selection interview will be for 15-30 minutes formatted as either a discussion around your research or laboratory experiences, your knowledge around the subject or project on offer, or a short review of a recent scientific publication between yourself and the recruiting Group Leader(s).  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 one-two weeks to complete.  If we have more than one project on offer, you may be contacted by more than one recruiting group leader.

Stage 2 - Invitation

If you successfully reach the next stage of the interview process, you will be sent an invitation to interview with the recruiting group leader(s) and members of our Education Committee on the specified date.  Upon your confirmation, format and timetable for the interview will be emailed. 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 under separate cover prior to interview. This will be to an audience consisting of recruiting group leader(s) and members of our Education Committee.  Candidates will not be present at each other's presentations.

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.

Interviewees will be given a tour of the recruiting group leader(s) lab with some of our current students and have a chat over coffee with lab members. Time is scheduled for 1:1 interviews with the research group leader(s) and there will be an opportunity to chat to some of our graduate students and research fellows over the lunchtime period.  If we have more than one project on offer, there may also be an opportunity to meet with your 2nd or 3rd choice project group leaders during this process.  You will undergo a 20 minute 1:1 interview with one/two members of our Education Committee, who represent the welfare of students within the CRUK Manchester Institute.  This will be a formal interview on your current and previous academic/working experience, your drive and reasons for wanting to undertake a PhD, your interests/hobbies etc.

Stage 3 - Interview Outcome

Successful candidates will be contacted as soon as possible post-interview and usually within one week, with an offer.  We appreciate your response as soon as possible, we may have candidates in reserve who will be offered a position if you are unable to accept. Unsuccessful candidates will be contacted as soon as possible with constructive written feedback.

Given the number of applications we receive, it is not feasible to provide application status or feedback to those candidates who have not reached stage 1 of the interview process.