Programme summary

This four-year programme in health data science is led by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and supported by the Wellcome Trust. It includes one year of foundational training followed by a three-year thesis project. It is a collaboration between HDR UK, The Alan Turing Institute and seven partner universities.

Where you will study

Students will be registered and based at one of our seven partner universities. Applicants can indicate preferences for universities, and provide relevant information for their choice such as caring responsibilities or personal circumstances.

During the foundational training year students will benefit from events around the UK. Courses may be residential (expenses provided) with up to a week away from their home university or online.

  • Applicants who are only interested in one specific university should consider directly applying for alternative programmes at those universities.

Financial support

The programme offers:

  • Enhanced and tax-free stipends with increases every year (Y1: £19,919 outside London and £22,278 in London)
  • Fully-paid tuition fees at the UK ‘Home’ rate (and college fees where required)
  • Research expenses and travel costs
  • Bespoke training delivered with our industry and academic partners
  • A bursary to support the next step of your career post-PhD.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our programme is fully committed to creating a diverse and inclusive research culture. We welcome applications from all and in particular those under-represented in STEM subjects and academia. We will:

  • seek to understand the challenges and barriers to equality in order to eliminate discrimination, creating an environment where differences are valued;
  • promote a culture of inclusion, recognising and celebrating difference and acknowledging the benefits achieved by diversity of thought and experience;
  • create a safe, non-judgemental space where we can discuss any issues that arise relating to equality, diversity, and inclusion, and support one another to understand and acknowledge a range of perspectives;
  • embed equality, diversity and inclusion across all levels of the programme and in everything that we do;
  • educate our community and raise awareness in all areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion ensuring our commitment to EDI is understood by all.

We aim to accommodate specific needs and personal circumstances but rely on applicants sharing this information with us. Please make us aware of individual circumstances when applying or contact us directly at Please note our applicant privacy notice.


Register for the 2023-24

Now is the time to register your interest for the 2023-24 PhD programme.

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Eligibility: Applicants must have (or be on track to obtain):

  • A First Class or 2:1 undergraduate degree in statistics, mathematics, computer science, physics or an allied subject or
  • Any undergraduate degree subject and outcome but can demonstrate their suitability for this programme through additional qualifications or research experience.

Allied subjects can include: engineering, machine learning, data science, robotics, systems biology, bioinformatics/biostatistics, epidemiology.

Applicants also need to meet the following criteria:

  • Successful admission to the specified degree programme at one of our partner universities. Students will be expected to meet the admissions requirements of that department and university but do not need to hold the offer at the point of application.
  • Two satisfactory academic or relevant references.
  • Acceptable proof of a legal right to study in the UK or ability to satisfy the current requirements of UK Visa and Immigration.

Assessments: Applicants should demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

Criterion First Stage (Shortlisting) Second Stage (Interview)
Experience in mathematical or statistical sciences. Y Y
Experience of computer science or programming skills. Y Y
Clear motivation to develop and apply their quantitative skills in a health data science setting. Y Y
Emerging communication and leadership skills and aspiration to develop these across a broad audience.  Y Y
Awareness of the mission of Health Data Research UK and the ethical and societal considerations around conducting research with health data.  Y Y
Scientific comprehension skills* Y
Scientific reasoning and modelling skills* Y

*This will be assessed at interview via a pre-interview exercise.

The information on the above table, and available spaces at home universities, will be taken into consideration when providing offers for successful candidates. For more details about what is asked for during application please see the FAQ.

Key dates

Application stage Key Dates
Applications open September 2022
Applications close December/January 2023
Interviews February 2023
Outcomes communicated by March 2023

Assessment process

Applications will first be checked for eligibility and then will undergo a first stage review. This will involve triage by the programme team and then review by academics from our partner universities. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview either in London or via remote video conferencing.

HDR UK reserves the right to reject applicants who do not meet the criteria at any stage. Regretfully, we can only provide feedback for candidates who reach interview.