News and Events

How quickly the time goes and I can’t believe that we are currently recruiting for our 4th cohort of GW4 clinical academic PhD Fellows for our Wellcome funded PhD Programme for Health Professionals. 

At the end of 2023 the Programme Directors and myself attended a meeting at Wellcome HQ to learn about the progress of these PhD programmes for health professionals and to voice our challenges and successes with the funders. Our Programme were invited to present our successes with our cohort building and training events and are grateful to our fellows who provided the quotes of how important these days are, for many reasons:

An example from one of our Fellows in the final year of PhD:

I have always really enjoyed the cohort days. I find them a fantastic opportunity to network with peers in different specialities, particularly to discuss general PhD progress, novel opportunities and the challenges that others have encountered. It’s also great from a practical point of view to know how others have managed budgets, courses, conferences, research politics and balancing work with having new babies and young children (which seems a rather common theme in our cohorts!).

The content of the days is also extremely helpful to cover those areas of our learning and development that are often hard to access, like resilience, social media, and research commercialisation and impact etc. and it’s always lovely to see you and Tracey too, as you have been  a constant support.

It was great to meet colleagues from other centres, all  of whom run their programmes in their own unique way, and to hear from the funders. It was a great day of learning and sharing.

Prestigious Awards for our Wellcome GW4-CAT Fellows

Most of our Fellows funded by our first Wellcome GW4-CAT Programme grant have now successfully completed their PhD and are moving into their post-doctoral careers, whilst balancing the completion of their clinical training. We had 3 recent noticeable successes in receipt of prestigious awards:

Claire Salter

Winner of the Dian Donnai Prize for the best spoken presentation by an ECR at the 19th Manchester Dysmorphology Conference with her presentation.

Congratulations to Claire who is in the final year of  her PhD, based at University of Exeter.

Gus Hamilton

Gus gave the British Infection Associations Barnett Christie Lecture in November. This is their annual lecture and is given to the trainee with best infection research that year.  Gus also won the Royal College of Pathology Gold Medal for best trainee research in the Royal College of Pathology.

In addition, he managed to secure 1.8 million from the NIHR HTA to run a randomised trial of steroids for cellulitis (co-lead with Edd Carlton).

Congratulations to Gus on these fantastic achievements. A very fitting end to your 3-year PhD at the University of Bristol, having submitted his thesis in September 2023 and passed his Viva in December.

Nick Thomas

Many congratulations to Nick on winning the South-West t 2024 Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme.  This was open to all clinical lecturers in the region so it is a great achievement.  

Nick will deliver his lecture entitled: Pre-symptomatic type 1 diabetes case detection: using genetics to find the needle in the haystack at the Royal College of Physicians Update in Medicine series on 6th March 2024 in Exeter.

Congratulations to Professor Sir John Iredale

We were delighted to read about our Programme Director receiving a Knighthood in the King’s New Year Honours list and very proud of Sir John on this achievement given for his dedication and service to medical research and to his years of support for the next generation of clinical academics and young scientists.

Sir John modelled the GW4-CAT PhD Programmes on the success of E-CAT in Edinburgh and WCAT in Wales and we have strived to deliver the very best programme with his experience and guidance.  Professors Richard Coward and Kathryn Peall will now take the joint Directorship of the PhD Programme for Health Professionals, whilst John remains the Director of the original GW4-CAT PhD Programme.

Here are additional links to the news items recently reported:

December: King’s New Year Honours | News and features | University of Bristol

Former UKRI leaders recognised in New Year Honours – UKRI


Good luck to all applicants who will be applying for a 2025 PhD start and then applying this time next year for a 2026 PhD start.  We are very keen to support all applicants, regardless of clinical background, so do always contact us if you are unsure.  We are planning a few events for later in the year that may be of interest to those who perhaps aren’t traditionally thinking about a PhD, but have a research background and a strong interest in taking this further!  We will be making plans and advertising these later in the year.

In the meantime, keep on keeping on and very best wishes for 2024.

Dr Jayne Bailey, Programme Manager

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