Co-funded research fellowship opportunities


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Joint Advanced (post-doctoral) Fellowship

The Joint NIHR DMT Advanced (post-doctoral) Fellowship is aimed at anyone with a PhD who hasn’t yet been awarded a chair.  Whether you are someone who has recently been or about to be awarded a PhD, or someone with several years of post-doctoral experience. the scheme is particularly suited to:

  • Individuals who have recently completed or soon to be awarded a PhD but haven’t yet established themselves as an independent researcher.
  • Individuals either starting to establish themselves as an independent researcher, or who are already established as an independent researcher but are not yet recognised as an international leader in their field.
  • Individuals looking to transition into applied health research from a basic science or non-health research background.
  • Individuals who are seeking to re-establish their research career following a significant career break.

The Dunhill Medical Trust has partnered with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to fund an advanced doctoral fellowship. 

This scheme is currently closed

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2020: One three-year Doctoral Training Fellowship to support front-line health professionals

Applicants must be a Member of The British Geriatrics Society for the lifetime of the grant* and meet the requirements for a programme of PhD study at a UK-based University

The focus of the research must be aligned to understanding and treating age-related diseases and frailty. We would welcome applications for projects that have the potential to prevent, delay or reduce future health and social care requirements, in particular, improve the ability to maintain functional independence for older adults. Applications are now also invited for research related to the COVID-19 outbreak and contributing to the understanding of, and response to, the pandemic and its impact on older people’s healthcare in the UK.

Applicants will need to demonstrate how the research will translate into patient benefit within three to five years of completion or sooner.

Fellowships will cover salary, on-costs, tuition fees and consumables.

Please note: applicants who are in a specialty training programme and shortlisted for interview must obtain and provide written permission from their Deanery allowing them to undertake at least three years Out of Programme time, should they be successful in being awarded a fellowship.

Deadline for applications – 31 July 2020

Interview date for shortlisted applicants – 6 October 2020

Fellowship formally announced at BGS Autumn conference – 25-27 November 2020 ExCel London

Guidance for applicants

The joint DMT/BGS Research Training Fellowship will be expected to be up to £210,000 over the three years in total based on FTE salary costs. The award will be expected to cover:

  • an individual’s salary (at the appropriate grade on the relevant pay scale), plus on-costs,
  • tuition fees for a PhD
  • an additional amount to cover consumables and travel to present their work

Please note that Dunhill Medical Trust’s terms and conditions for research grants will apply. Applicants should also read our Frequently Asked Questions.

* For membership queries please contact the British Geriatrics Society via

2019 Fellow: Adeela Usman, University of Nottingham

On completion of my undergraduate degree in pharmacy at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Sudan, l obtained a Masters of Public Health from the University of Nottingham, UK. Following my masters, l worked as a researcher in ageing at the University of Nottingham and the University of Manchester. Through my work, on the Proactive Healthcare of Older People in Care Homes (PEACH) study at the University of the Nottingham, l developed a strong interest in care home research. This led to my PhD project. Supported by the Dunhill Medical Trust, British Geriatric Society and Nottingham Vice chancellor’s scholarship, my PhD aims to develop a person-centred quality of life tool for routine use in older people’s care homes.Quality of life is considered an important outcome and measure of care quality by care home residents, their relatives and staff carers. However, currently used tools have a number of limitations.To overcome this, l will work with care home residents, their families, staff carers and health and social care professionals to design a tool that is easy and practical to use routinely in care homes, incorporates the priorities of care home residents and their relatives and includes domains that staff carers can reliably comment on to help improve care quality. Therefore, this tool has the potential to improve the quality of life and care provided to over 400, 000 older people living in UK care homes

The Dunhill Medical Trust has partnered with the British Geriatrics Society to co-fund three three-year Doctoral Training Fellowships to support front-line health professionals with an interest in developing a research career.

The first recipient of this award was Adeela Usman, University of Nottingham. Her fellowship project is entitled Developing a Quality of Life Tool Around Resident and Family Priorities Which Can Be Used Routinely to Support Quality of Care in Care Homes.


This scheme is currently closed

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Dr Evan Edmond, University of Oxford
Biomarkers and modulation of cortical hyperexcitability in ALS

I am a clinical research fellow in Neurology with a research interest in the development of imaging biomarkers in motor neurone disease (MND). Through an intercalated degree in medical school and ongoing research alongside working as a junior doctor, I developed a skillset and interest in advanced medical imaging techniques.

MND is a progressive, fatal condition involving degeneration of the motor system in the brain and spinal cord, causing progressive weakness, speech, swallowing and breathing difficulties. At least 5000 people in the UK are living with MND, and many more bear the physical and emotional burden of their care.

My area of research is the application of cutting edge scanning techniques (magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephalography) to find the earliest signs of the disease in the brain and spinal cord. The support of the Dunhill Medical Trust through awarding a clinical research training fellowship in 2018 has allowed me to pursue this research. Prof. Martin Turner and Prof. Charlotte Stagg supervise this project at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford.

Finding early signs of the disease process (biomarkers) would suggest targets for treatment. Sensitive biomarkers will also help to make clinical trials of new treatments more reliable, faster and cheaper to run. More broadly, understanding MND has wider implications for a range of neurodegenerative diseases often associated with aging. A deeper understanding of neurodegenerative processes is a necessary step for the development of treatments to change the outlook in these devastating conditions.

The Association of British Neurologists has, since 2009, been organising a prestigious clinical research training fellowships scheme.  These are awarded to trainees who want to study an aspect of clinical neuroscience in depth for three years and obtain an MD or PhD degree. The current recipient of this joint award of a 3-year fellowship is Dr Evan Edmond of the University of Oxford.

This scheme is currently closed

Dr Amy Garner, Imperial College London
Functional, Subjective and Biomechanical Outcomes Associated with Combined Partial Knee Replacement for Multi-Compartment Arthrosis – An Alternative to Total Knee Replacement?

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is the mainstay or treatment for knee arthrosis (wear and tear) however, it is major surgery and, in the elderly comes at considerable risk. In many cases, the arthrosis affects only part of the knee joint, however, TKR replaces the entire joint. TKR, therefore, often includes removal of healthy bone and ligaments. It is possible that by undergoing TKR, patients may be exposed to higher risks than are necessary to treat their disease.

For 40 years, a ‘partial knee replacement’ has been an alternative to TKR, but it is unsuitable when more of than one-third of the knee is worn out. A new generation of safe, effective, less invasive knee replacement is evolving, which uses two small partial knee replacements to treat only the damaged areas. This type of knee replacement is capable of addressing more widespread arthrosis than traditional sinlge partial knee replacement, but leaves healthy bone and ligaments behind. However, little is known of whether this is a safe and effective alternative to TKR.

As an Orthopaedic Surgeon in training, I am keen to understand the role of smaller, more conservative knee replacement. My PhD project at Imperial College London is contributing to this knowledge by analysing the biomechanics of these knee replacements; measuring the way people walk and how satisfied they are after the different types of surgery. We have also set up a new surgical training course to teach surgeons different knee-replacement techniques.

Together with the Dunhill Medical Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons, I aim to determine whether avoiding TKR patients may, as our early work suggests, result in better function, higher satisfaction, reduced risk and greater quality of life. By avoiding TKR, we hope that our patients may lead substantially more active lives.

The Dunhill Medical Trust has again supported the Royal College of Surgeons in England by co-funding one Surgical Research Fellowship in support of its charitable objectives: understanding the mechanisms of ageing and treating age-related diseases and frailty. The current recipient of a 2-year surgical research fellowship is Dr Amy Garner, Imperial College London

This scheme is currently closed


Dr Chris Hardy, University College London
From ears to brains: understanding and measuring hearing impairment in dementia

Dr Chris Hardy will be working with Professor Jason Warren in the Dementia Research Centre, University College London to research the relationship between hearing loss and dementia, both of which present huge health issues for our rapidly ageing population. Chris will use his funding to study hearing in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and a rarer type of dementia called progressive nonfluent aphasia, and he hopes that his research will lead to new ways to assess hearing loss in the context of neurodegeneration, as well as cognitive rehabilitation strategies that will help people living with these diseases to cope with hearing problems in their day-to-day lives

Dr Katie Smith, University College London
The life course of neuronal microdomains regulating excitability of the auditory nerve

Following the completion of my undergraduate degree in Genetics from the University of Nottingham, I obtained my PhD from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London (UCL). Through my PhD work, I became interested in ion channels (membrane proteins that regulate electrical signalling).  During my PhD I was trained in techniques to assess ion channel function, including electrophysiology and various molecular biology techniques.

In 2013, I joined the laboratory of Dr Dan Jagger at the UCL Ear Institute, as a postdoctoral researcher. Here, I became interested in how ion channels contribute to the function of auditory nerve fibres in the inner ear. I worked on projects which identified the crucial role certain subtypes of ion channels play in the fast and precise transmission of electrical signals along the auditory nerve. Through this work, we determined that the ion channels were precisely localised to small discrete regions or “microdomains”, formed by the associations of specialised support cells (“glia”) with the nerve cells.

As a Pauline Ashley Fellow, jointly funded by Action on Hearing Loss and The Dunhill Medical Trust, I now plan to pursue further research into the assembly and maintenance of microdomains in the inner ear. In particular, I will determine how they change during ageing. Recent studies from other research groups have shown that a neural dysfunction, where auditory nerve cells lose their connections to sensory cells, is a primary contributor to age-related hearing loss (ARHL), the most common form of sensory loss in older people. In order to understand more about the pathophysiology of ARHL, it will be important to determine whether microdomain disruption contributes to the neural degeneration. Through this fellowship, I hope to establish myself as an independent researcher in auditory neuroscience, which is a first step in pursuing a successful academic career.

The aim of the this joint Fellowship scheme is to help talented young researchers make the transition from a post-doctoral scientist to an independent investigator, able to lead their own programme of research, attract funding and build a new research team. Action on Hearing Loss and The Dunhill Medical Trust are pleased to announce a second round of two 2-year Post-doctoral Fellowships. Deadline for applications 12 January 2021.

For more info and to apply

The Dunhill Medical Trust
5th Floor
6 New Bridge Street
London EC4V 6AB

Telephone: 020 7403 3299