Please direct any queries regarding eligibility to the GW4-CAT HP office via email – GW4-CAT@bristol.ac.uk.

We consider candidates on a case-by-case basis as we recognise that career/training paths differ greatly across disciplines and specialties.

Clinical PhD Fellows will be health professionals registered with a national, health professional regulatory body in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

The GW4-CAT HP PhD Programme was previously open only to medics, dentists and vets however, it is now open to ALL health professionals and vets registered in the UK or Republic of Ireland

The scheme is aimed at exceptionally motivated clinically qualified health professionals and veterinary graduates who can demonstrate the capability and drive to undertake a period of research with a view to developing a long-term career as a clinical academic.

Academic excellence, evidence of prior and productive research interest/experience and the desire to pursue a career in clinical academia are essential.

Applicants are not expected to have a defined project proposal or supervisor(s) at the application stage. The nature of the applicant’s research question will articulate the areas in which they would be interested in developing a project, and have an idea of which senior supervisors they might work with from the exceptional GW4-CAT HP pool of Wellcome Trust approved supervisors.

Applicants who have unsuccessfully applied to the GW4-CAT programme on two occasions are no longer eligible to apply. If you are considering reapplying for your second and final time, please contact the GW4-CAT HP Programme Manager well in advance to discuss whether the timing of your application is optimal.

General Eligibility

  1. To be eligible for entry into the programme you must have a qualification that allows you to practice clinically in the UK or RoI and be Registered with a regulatory body.
  2. Those who are currently registered for a PhD elsewhere will not be eligible to apply.
  3. Academic excellence, evidence of prior and productive research experience/interest and the desire to pursue a career in clinical academia are essential
  4. Applicants must be willing to travel between GW4 sites and participate in cohort activities and training.
  5. Offers will be subject to a satisfactory completion of relevant Vetting/Barring Scheme, if required, eg. DBS check, and references.
  6. The Wellcome Trust allows up to 8 hours of clinical work per week only as this Fellowship will be your main focus for the duration of the funded period. Fellows will only be encouraged to take up this opportunity if it brings added value.

Medical and Dental Students


  1. MBBS, MBBCh, BDS, BChD or equivalent medical or dental qualification

Dental/Medical registration and other criteria:

  1. Foundation trainees are not eligible to apply
  2. Applicants will be in a position to hold full or provisional registration with the GMC or GDC with the necessary licence to practise by the commencement of and throughout their PhD
  3. Be able to provide documented evidence from the relevant training body (e.g. GMC/GDC or equivalent) of achievement of appropriate competencies for stage of training by time of appointment in line with relevant national regulatory requirements, including satisfactory outcome at the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)
  4. Applicants will usually be either on a run-through training programme or hold an NTN, please enquire if you are unsure about your eligibility on these grounds
  5. Applicants who have already finished their training and received a CCT are not usually eligible
  6. Hold an active medical or dental indemnity policy that is valid in the jurisdiction where clinical training will occur
  7. Be eligible to be granted time out of programme for research (OOPR) if required

Please Note

  1. Clinicians who undertake OOPR must continue to participate in the ARCP process of their home locality in HEE, NES, the Wales Deanery (now HEIW) or NIMDTA and would be expected to return at the end of the period of OOPR unless they are immediately appointed to a Clinical Lecturer post after their PhD.
  2. Medical or dental trainees in their final year of training will not normally be granted OOPR. Please check with your Deanery before applying if you are unsure about your eligibility on these grounds.


Veterinary Graduates


  1. BVSc, MBBCh or equivalent veterinary qualification

Veterinary registration and other criteria:

  1. Candidates will normally be Members or Fellows of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) at the commencement of and throughout their PhD: MRCVS/FRCVS

Other Health Professionals (see below for full list)


  1. Relevant to their profession.

Registration and other criteria:

  • Must be registered with their Professional Regulatory Body and be eligible to practice within the UK or RoI.

Health Professionals

Wellcome’s definition of a health professional is an individual who is registered with a national professional regulatory body (e.g. the General Medical Council, Health and Care Professions Council) in the country in which the PhD Programme is based. This would include, but not be limited to, the following professions:

• Allied Health Professionals (Art Therapists, Chiropodists/Podiatrists, Dieticians, Drama Therapists, Music Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Operating Department Practitioners, Orthoptists, Osteopaths, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists, Radiographers and Speech and Language Therapists)

  • Chiropractors
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Dentists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Dental nurses
  • Dental therapists
  • Healthcare scientists (in life sciences, physiological sciences, physical sciences and biomechanical engineering, and bioinformatics)
  • Health Visitors
  • Midwives
  • Non-medical Public Health specialists
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians
  • Osteopaths
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Practitioner Psychologists
  • Vets

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