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iCASE 2020: Four industrial CASE (iCASE) studentships are available for doctoral study at Oxford


Four industrial CASE (iCASE) studentships are available for doctoral study at Oxford, to start in October 2021. Each iCASE studentship is fully-funded for four years with a stipend of £20,000 p.a., all course fees paid, plus a research training support grant. Applications must be received by 12 noon (UK time) Friday 8 January 2021. Details on how to apply can be found below.

Designed to nurture the academic entrepreneurs of the future, the Enterprise studentship programme offers a stimulating educational experience as part of the Oxford-MRC DTP cohort, with the additional benefit of working closely with an industrial partner. This will provide entrepreneurial training opportunities and an insight into how commercial science is conducted alongside a superb academic base within the University. Students will work for at least 3 months in the associated company.


The projects available are:

1.       Real-time benefit-risk assessment of vaccine exposure across a nationally representative primary care sentinel network: cutting edge technologies to prevent disease

Lead supervisor: Prof Simon de Lusignan; commercial partner: EMIS Group


2.       Development of a bioelectronic system for applying chronobiology to improve the treatment of neurological disorders

Lead supervisor: Prof Tim Denison & Prof Colin Espie; commercial partner: Bioinduction


3.       Modelling ocular drug retention technologies

Lead supervisor: Prof Eamonn Gaffney; commercial partner: Roche


4.       Anti-S SOMAmers as functional probes and potential therapeutic agents for Covid19

Lead supervisor: Prof William James; commercial partner: SomaLogic


5.       Using Behavioural Insights to Improve Effectiveness of Digital Weight Loss Interventions

Lead supervisor: Prof Susan Jebb; commercial partner: Second Nature


6.       A clinically relevant musculoskeletal humanoid shoulder for biomedical applications

Lead supervisor: Prof Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy; commercial partner: Devanthro GmbH


7.       Optimising CAR-T efficacy in pancreatic cancer with bioengineered scaffolds and immune agonists

Lead supervisor: Prof Eric O’Neill; commercial partner: Oxford BioMedica


8.       Development and improvement of prediction /decision making tools in treating depression in primary care 

Lead supervisor: Assoc Prof Kate Saunders & Prof Terry Lyons; commercial partner: P1vital Products


9.       Enhancing health and well-being across the lifespan using bio-informed lighting in the built environment

Lead supervisor: Prof Hannah Smithson; commercial partner: Hoare Lea


10.   Production of SARS-CoV-2 Subunit Vaccine in Pichia pastoris

Lead supervisors: Prof Alain Townsend & Dr Tiong Kit Tan; commercial partner: Ingenza


11.   Development of Novel RF Coils for Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Lead supervisor: Prof Damian Tyler; commercial partner: PulseTeq


12.   Dissecting the haematological and immune components of preeclampsia and their functional significance - the role of placental extracellular vesicles

Lead supervisor: Dr Manu Vatish; commercial partner: Sysmex


13.   Clonal Basis of Response and Resistance to Combination Anti-Apoptotic Therapy in Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Lead supervisor: Prof Paresh Vyas; commercial partner: Astra Zeneca


14.   Hybrid nanoparticles of extracellular vesicles and adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) as an innovative gene-replacement therapy for rare monogenic diseases

Lead supervisor: Prof Matthew Wood; commercial partner: Evox Therapeutics



Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic achievements

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a relevant discipline such as biology, biochemistry, or medicine. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

A previous master's degree is not required.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include: 

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Candidates who are shortlisted are interviewed as part of the admissions process. Shortlisting will be based on the criteria given above. There will be a minimum of three academics on the interview panel. Interviews will be conducted virtually this year. Normally the interview will consist of a five-minute presentation of previous project work by the applicant, followed by 15-25 minutes of questioning from the panel.


Prior publications are not required, but research experience and a demonstrable interest in the commercialisation of research may be an advantage.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage your application.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the standard level required by the University.

3. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

4. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.


Applicants who are offered iCASE places will be provided with a funding package that will include fees at the Home rate for the duration of fee liability, and a stipend for four years. NB Overseas applicants are liable for fees at a different rate, therefore an additional source of funding will be required to cover the full cost of fees.

How To Apply

Before applying for these positions we recommend you contact the lead supervisors for informal discussions. To make a formal application, please complete the University’s online application form for the DPhil in Interdisciplinary Medical Research (MRC DTP) (course code R25_1). In your application, you must indicate that you are applying for an advertised studentship competition, using the reference code iCASE. Please indicate clearly which project(s) you are applying for, in order of preference. It is possible to apply for up to 3 MRC iCASE projects on your application. You will need to provide a CV outlining your academic achievements and relevant experience, and a personal statement detailing your interest and fit for the studentship. Note that no project proposal is required for the iCASE studentship applications.

If you wish to apply for both the iCASE projects and other non-iCASE projects within other departments, you will have to make separate applications in addition to your iCASE application.

If you have any specific queries about the iCASE application process, please email General advice on how to pick a graduate advisor (supervisor) and how to choose a scientific problem can be found in these two articles:

All applications must be received by the deadline of 12 noon (UK time) Friday 8 January 2021.

We expect to interview shortlisted applicants in early February and to make offers by the end of February. 


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