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PhD Scholarships

Identifying the next generation of theragnostic targets in cancer


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time) 5 years (part-time)

Application deadline:

10 February 2023

About this project

Applications are invited for an exciting 3-year fully funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2023.

This PhD project aims identify the next generation of theragnostic targets in cancer. The clinical value of theragnostics for the diagnosis and treatment of disease has been evidenced by prominent phase 3 clinical trials; however, despite the enormous potential for treating a wide range of cancers, theragnostic strategies have been developed towards relatively few phenotypes of cancer. In this project, machine learning algorithms will be applied to analyse publicly available datasets for a wide range of cancer types. This bioinformatic approach will identify novel unexplored biomolecular targets for imaging and therapy, which will then be studied using a series of 2D/3D in vitro cancer models to study the impact of expression/activity of the novel targets on tumour physiological conditions. This project will inform the development of novel targeted molecules with commercial partners, which will be radiolabelled and evaluated in vitro/in vivo at the University of Hull.

The successful candidate will be based on the University of Hull campus and join our thriving and diverse research community in the Positron Emission Tomography Research Centre (PETRC) and our newly formed Hull University Theragnostics (HUT) cluster. The candidate will have opportunities to work at our new Molecular Imaging Research Centre (MIRC) at Castle Hill Hospital as required. The development of radiopharmaceuticals is a multidisciplinary endeavour, and the successful candidate will work at the intersection of biomedical research, bioinformatics, radiopharmaceutical development, and machine learning.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Isabel Pires.


Join us at a free webinar at 6 pm on Tuesday 6 December for more information about the funded projects available through this cluster. You will be able to hear from PhD supervisors and ask questions about the programme. 

About the research cluster


Theragnostics is a rapidly developing area of nuclear medicine which combines diagnosis and therapy into a single unified strategy for the treatment of disease. We are already implementing approved theragnostics into the clinic at Castle Hill Hospital, for the benefit of cancer patients in the surrounding area. Complementary to this is our ambition to expand our own research capacity around novel theragnostic radiopharmaceuticals and their application to disease. In 2022, we established the Hull University Theragnostics (HUT) PhD cluster. The cluster unites two successful research groups in molecular imaging and wound research, to collaborate and explore new ground in theragnostic radiopharmaceutical development with applications in cancer and wounds.

The University of Hull has identified molecular imaging and theragnostics as a strategic priority area for investment and expansion. In partnership with the Daisy Appeal charity and Hull University Teaching Hospitals, we have invested >£15m in world-leading medical imaging infrastructure and technology to form the Hull Molecular Imaging Centres (HuMIC). Our state-of-the-art facilities provide a critical development pipeline for bench-to-bedside translational science, allowing discoveries made in our laboratory to progress into clinical trials. Very few universities have capabilities in translational nuclear medicine; therefore, the University of Hull offers a truly unique training opportunity for PhD students, with real opportunities to influence patient care. We strive to improve healthcare on a local, national, and global scale through innovative science. Successful candidates will join our active and vibrant research groups located in laboratories at the University of Hull, and the Daisy Research Laboratories at Castle Hill Hospital. Candidates will embed into our £28 million state-of-the-art Health Campus at the University of Hull, joining the Centre for Biomedicine, Hull York Medical School (HYMS). This unique partnership brings together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offers a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. The Medical School delivers outstanding academic and clinical research with over 85% classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2021).

The HUT PhD cluster is led by a diverse team of nationally and internationally renowned scientists with a strong track record in providing excellent PhD supervision. Successful candidates have opportunities to expand their knowledge in the subject area and beyond through engagement with departmental seminars, HuMIC seminars, and the HUT journal club.

How to apply

You will need to supply a personal statement when applying for this scholarship position. Find out more about writing a personal statement. Please also ensure you include the following information:

  1. What motivates you to pursue PhD study
  2. Why you are interested in this project
  3. How your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need
  4. The wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.

Apply for this scholarship Full time | Part time

Additional guidance on how to apply.

Closing date for applications

10 February 2023

Start date

1 October 2023

Postgraduate Rebecca Humphries & Georgia Sykes walking by HUBS Wharfe Building

University of Hull's Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential.


  • The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant/stipend for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 22/23 is £4,596 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £17,668 per annum. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.
  • If you need to move into a fourth year (full-time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period and you will be required to pay a continuation fee.

Entry requirements

We welcome applicants with a 1st class undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science, Cancer Biology, Biochemistry, or a related discipline, or a Masters level research qualification in a relevant discipline. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience. Experience in bioinformatics/big data/AI/machine learning is advantageous.

For more details on our entry requirements please visit the postgraduate admissions webpage.

This scholarship is available for full-time and part-time study.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a Home fee waiver only, which will not cover the full International fee. You will therefore need to pay the difference between the Home fee and the International fee every year and will need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover this.

The amount you will have to pay will depend on the PhD programme that you will be registered on. For scholarships based in Hull York Medical School, you will be registered on PhD Medical Sciences.

Below is an illustration of what that could mean for you, based on 2022 fees. NB fees rise each year so the example below is an approximation only.

International fee for PhD Biomedical Sciences: £23,900

Home fee waiver: £4,596

Difference to pay per annum: £19,304

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

Research training

As a PhD student at Hull York Medical School, you will receive comprehensive research training and support.

Enrolment, Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and Visa information

If your application is successful and your PhD is based at the University of Hull, you will need to complete your enrolment through the University of Hull online system (we will send you information nearer the time). If you are also an overseas applicant your CAS will be issued through the University of Hull applicant portal, please ensure you complete your CAS requirements using your University of Hull portal.

The University of Hull visa team can be contacted at