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MRC DTP iCASE 2023 Projects

MRC DTP Partnership


Ten industrial CASE (iCASE) studentships are available for doctoral study at Oxford, to start in October 2023. 

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.


They are open to both UK and non-UK nationals and will follow the UKRI student eligibility requirements. UKRI will normally limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through individual training grants to 30% of the total intake each year.

Funding Package

Each iCASE studentship is fully-funded - it includes four years of stipend at the UKRI stipend level + £2,500 p.a., course fees, and a generous research training support grant.


Applications Deadline

Applications must be received by 12 noon (UK time) Friday 9 December 2022. Details on entry requirements and  how to apply can be found below.



The projects available are:

1. Deciphering the lipid code for SLC7 transporters using native MS and cryoEM

Lead supervisor: Professor Simon Newstead; commercial partner: OMass Therapeutics


2. In silico characterisation of portal proteins for application as biosensors

Lead supervisor: Professor Syma Khalid; commercial partner: Oxford Nanopore Technologies


3. Assessing risks of resistance to novel antimicrobials targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Lead supervisor: Professor Craig MacLean; commercial partner: Bactobio Ltd


4. Harnessing the social transmission of microbiota to improve health and immunity

Lead supervisor: Dr Josh Firth; commercial partner: Reckitt UK


5. Overcoming antimicrobial resistance to tetracycline antibiotics

Lead supervisor: Professor Chris Schofield; commercial partner: Ineos / Ineos Oxford `Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance (IOI)


6. Tagging the mind’s contents during active behaviour

Lead supervisor: Professor Kia Nobre; commercial partner: Brain Products UK Ltd.


7. Characterisation and treatment of patient iPSC-derived retinal organoids as an in vitro model of inherited retinal disease

Lead supervisor: Professor Robert E MacLaren; commercial partner: Newcells Biotech Ltd


8. Highly Accelerated Magnetic Resonance Angiography using Deep Learning

Lead supervisor: Professor Thomas Okell; commercial partner: Siemens Healthcare Ltd (part of Siemens Healthineers)


9. Development of Methods to Assess Intracranial Vessel Stiffness as a Measure of Vascular Disease

Lead supervisor: Professor Peter Jezzard; commercial partner: Siemens Healthcare Ltd (part of Siemens Healthineers)


10. Development of an automated CT-brain analysis tool

Lead supervisor: Professor Sarah Pendlebury; commercial partner: Brainomix


11. Study cytosine methylation in RNA

Lead supervisor: Professor Chunxiao Song; commercial partner: Exact Sciences Innovation


12. Immune modulation by checkpoint receptor targeting

Lead supervisor: Dr Ricardo A. Fernandes; commercial partner: MiroBio Ltd / Gilead Sciences


13. Cutaneous human immune challenge for the development and evaluation of therapeutics

Lead supervisor: Dr James Fullerton; commercial partner: DJS Antibodies


14. Engineering skeletal muscle using a humanoid bioreactor platform

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


15. Function of ITIM Domain Containing Receptors in Regulating Human Immune Fibroblast Function in Cancer and Inflammatory Disease

Lead supervisor: Professor Mark Coles; commercial partner: Mestag Therapeutics


16. Revealing mechanism and functionality of new and old agents in multi-morbidity research using a multi-omics approach

Lead supervisor: Professor James Edwards; commercial partner: Medicines Discovery Catapult


17. How does the tumour microenvironment affect cancer cell responses to DNA damage repair inhibition during radiotherapy?

Lead supervisor: Dr Geoff Higgins; commercial partner: Artios Pharma Limited


18. Promoting cancer cell’s antigen presentation for serving as better targets for T cell immunotherapy

Lead supervisor: Professor Shisong Jiang; commercial partner: Oxford Vacmedix UK Ltd (OVM)


19. Using oncolytic viral therapy to target the tumour microenvironment in chromosomally unstable cancers

Lead supervisor: Dr Eileen Parkes; commercial partner: Theolytics


20. GPs labour trajectories and patients’ health outcomes in general practices

Lead supervisor: Dr Catia Nicodemo; commercial partner: EMIS


21. Cell cryopreservation precision technologies for health and diagnostics

Lead supervisor: Professor Sonia Contera; commercial partner: CytoSwim Ltd


22. Development of a digital behavioural intervention to reduce dementia risk in ageing adults

Lead supervisor: Professor John Gallacher; commercial partner: Five Lives SAS


23. Assessing the prospective utility of AlzoSure® Predict in a UK clinical research cohorts to assess risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Lead supervisor: Dr Vanessa Raymont; commercial partner: Diadem Research Ltd


24. Prognostic modelling of coronary inflammation and plaque vulnerability using deep-learning of cardiac computed tomography imaging

Lead supervisor: Professor Charalambos Antoniades; commercial partner: Caristo Diagnostics


25. Imaging-based analysis of signaling pathways triggered by immune checkpoint receptors

Lead supervisor: Professor Simon J. Davis; commercial partner: MiroBio Ltd / Gilead Sciences


26. Inter-vendor standardisation and quality assurance of quantitative cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) T1-mapping for clinical practice and trials

Lead supervisor: Professor Stefan Piechnik; commercial partner: General Electric Healthcare (GEHC)


27. Non-invasive phenotyping of muscle function using multi-nuclear MR

Lead supervisor: Professor Ladislav Valkovič; commercial partner: RAPID Biomedical GmbH



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/funding allocation 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 interviews will run for 25 minutes in a question and answer format.


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.

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 course specific to the department hosting the iCASE project you are interested in. Please indicate the iCASE project clearly by inserting ‘iCASE’ before the project title and by using the reference code iCASE. You will need to provide a CV outlining your academic achievements and relevant experience, and a personal statement (500 words max if applying for a project hosted by one of Medical Sciences departments - please note that this limit might be different if a project is hosted by one of MPLS departments in which case follow their requirement) 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 a combination of iCASE and other projects within the hosting department, this can be done on the same application form (max number of projects you can apply for on one application depends on the department you wish to apply to). If you wish to apply for iCASE projects within different departments, you will have to make separate applications directly through those departments.

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 9 December 2022.

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

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