Photo of PhD student retreat 2017

PhD student retreat 2017 by Hansong Ma


The Gurdon Institute offers a world-class environment for research in developmental, cell and cancer biology, with at least sixteen independent research groups

Informal portrait photo of postgraduate Ines Ferreira, Fernandez-Antoran lab

Here I can get scientific advice from fellow PhD students and group leaders alike. Everyone seeks synergies and ways to help other people’s research work thrive. This is what makes science at the Institute so collaborative and vibrant.

Inês Ferreira, PhD student, Fernandez-Antoran lab

Get your science career off to the best possible start

  • Our research is world-leading and highly regarded
  • We have excellent facilities
  • Our friendly culture enables you to become part of our community.

The Institute also benefits from a comprehensive support infrastructure including administration, purchasing, accounting, IT support, media preparation, glasswashing and animal husbandry, enabling scientists to concentrate on research work.

Two Ma lab researchers interact while working at the bench
Photo of drinks table with science pictures in background

The Gurdon Postgraduate Society (GPS) organises both academic and social events for graduate students in the Institute. These include hosting guest lecturers, regular pub trips and the annual retreat treasure hunt!

Matthew McCormack, PhD student, Ma lab
Photo of researcher explaining her poster

Join us to do your PhD

We welcome enquiries from prospective graduate students. We have a thriving population of PhD students and other graduates who contribute greatly to both the stimulating research environment and the life of the Institute as a whole. Postgraduates also become members of the University biological or medical sciences department to which their group leader is affiliated.

When to apply

Apply to the appropriate course/Department towards the end of the calendar year preceding the October in which you hope to start, hence well before the funding deadlines in early December.

Most people will need to apply for funding but you can also check the University-wide list of adverts for current PhD studentships.

Chick embryo cross-section by S McLaren, Xiong lab

How to get funding

Graduate studentships are supported from various sources, with calls for applications typically released in Autumn/Winter for entry the following October.

The University’s Graduate Admissions website has the best round-up of funding and bursary information.

Who can you study with?

Most graduate studentships are administered through the Departments where our group leaders are affiliated, even though the relevant labs are entirely within the Gurdon Institute. You must quote the correct Department on your application form (see affiliations below).

At the same time as submitting an application to one of the above schemes you can write to the group leader you wish to join (get in touch by email via our contact form stating group leader of interest). See our Privacy policy for how we deal with your personal information.

Departmental affiliations

  • Julie Ahringer, Genetics
  • Sumru Bayin, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
  • David Fernandez-Antoran, Pathology
  • Jenny Gallop, Biochemistry
  • Tony Kouzarides, Pathology
  • Emma Rawlins, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
  • Daniel St Johnston, Genetics
  • Ben Simons, Applied Maths & Theoretical Physics
  • Azim Surani, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
  • Iva Tchasovnikarova, Biochemistry
  • Fengzhu Xiong, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
Photo of Andrea Brand at social event