TRUST PHD PROGRAMME -University of Glasgow



WT IIB PhD Programme

The Wellcome Trust – Integrative Infection Biology programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees.
We commit to being part of an evolving community of practitioners who will develop and share practice to bring science and culture together, placing both firmly at the heart of what we do.

Infectious diseases shaped human evolution and pose formidable, complex challenges to global health. These can only be addressed by the imaginative and multidisciplinary approaches encapsulated through Integrated Infection Biology.

Our programme sets out to equip the next generation of innovative world-class researchers with cutting-edge concepts and technologies, inspiring them to apply their skills to tackle the challenges of infectious diseases.

We offer excellent PhD projects that build synergistic collaborations across the and our international partners.

Our aim is to give all students an exceptional experience, driving them to build their careers with the ability, confidence and integrity to make transformative contributions to global health. Our principles are promoting inquisitive and rigorous science, imparting technological and analytical skills, and reinforcing personal wellbeing. 

The programme will develop ‘Scientists without Boundaries’, instilling into each student the full range of scientific and generic skills required for success, to gain ambition and confidence as researchers, and to promote self-development as the modus vivendi for lifelong careers. Our development programme is based on the Vitae Framework

The programme is structured with a 6-month introductory period, a 3.5-year PhD project, followed by a novel ‘PhD Plus’ phase, which offers support beyond the PhD degree award.

This structure aligns to the key phases of student growth: FoundationDevelopment; and Maturation before Graduation and career Launch.

The introductory phase exposes students to a range of courses (Timetable) and rotation laboratory projects, prior to PhD project selection.


Students will join the programme with an initial one-week ‘Project Incubation’ during which they will participate in interactive tutorials to learn about themes underpinning IIB, seminars highlighting international co-supervisors’ research, and ‘speed-dating’ sessions with potential rotation project supervisors to identify placements of interest.

Following this, students will do two lab rotations of their choice at the University of Glasgow enabling development of new skills and idea testing.

These 10-week projects will be followed by a second one-week ‘Project Incubation’ for students to incorporate their knowledge from rotation projects and core courses, helping them shape their PhD projects.

A short off-campus retreat with potential supervisors will be organised for the cohort to take stock and discuss each other’s findings.  

During the Foundation period, students will commence training in broad skills and concepts that will continue throughout their programme, as detailed below.


Following discussions with potential supervisors and the management team, students will choose their PhD projects from a wide-ranging list.

Students will write and defend a project proposal and literature review within 3 months of starting their PhD project.


To confer a mature, far-ranging perspective on infectious diseases, we have adopted the concept of T-shape Training (pdf) providing students with a broad outlook (horizontal ‘T’ bar) while supporting depth and specialisation (vertical ‘T’ bar). This is organised through four interconnected training pillars:

(i) Transferable Skills and Career Development

(ii) Research Culture and Community Building

(iii) Thematic Courses in Infectious Diseases

(iv) Research Project Design and Execution

The capacity to think critically and broadly will be honed through student-led courses, journal clubs and seminars, followed through with report writing, research paper drafting and thesis writing.

In addition, the programme’s annual symposium will involve oral and poster presentations by students each year.

All students will also be invited to participate as teaching assistants on an annual African-based ‘Biology of Parasitism’ short courses that the University of Glasgow organise in Kenya or Malawi.


Completion of the PhD in Integrated Infection Biology will involve a thesis, and students will be expected to draft publications and organise electronic deposition of all data acquired throughout the PhD.

Each student’s thesis committee will be involved in reviewing and advising on thesis progress to ensure a successful outcome and graduation.


PhD Plus Year: This new feature is designed to empower graduating students to develop their next career step in science, for example in a new laboratory in any global setting, or by underpinning new experiences in social science, public engagement or industry.

Students will discuss their ideas with their supervisors and mentors, who have extensive networks of:

  • Potential host laboratories
  • Leaders in industry
  • Science communication
  • Teaching
  • Public engagement
  • Research management
  • Science policy

They will also be encouraged to take the initiative in approaching key figures in their field of interest on the strength of the financed ‘PhD Plus Year’.

Example Project Titles

Dr. Gillian Douce: Identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease

Dr. Megan Macleod: Role of multifunctional T cells in protective immunity to influenza virus

Prof Matthias Marti: Defining the genetic signature of malaria transmission

Prof Jose Penades: Establishing a new paradigm in bacterial evolution: chromosomal hypermobility via lateral transduction

Prof Daniel Walker: Engineering protein antibiotics for the targeted eradication of multidrug-resistant pathogens

Prof. Andy Waters: ABC transporters and commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites

Prof. Annette MacLeod: Understanding host-parasite interactions using single cell transcriptomic analysis of trypanosome parasites and their mammalian host.

Prof. Annette MacLeod: Exploiting trypanosome parasites to cure kidney disease.


Application deadline: Tuesday 5 January 2021




Interviews are likely to take place on 15 – 17 February 2021. 


The programme has an intake of seven fully-funded studentships per year. Five studentships are available for applicants from any country (UK, EU and the rest of the world), and two studentships are specifically for applicants from the programme’s partner countries: Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.


The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, a stipend and laboratory expenses for both Home/International applicants.

Annual stipend (2021/22 rate): £19,919


WT IIB PhD Programme

Note: Clinically qualified applicants (i.e. medics, dentists, vets and other health professionals) who are seeking to balance academic and clinical careers will not be considered for this programme. To view alternative opportunities, please follow this link:

Qualifications criteria
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a degree in a relevant subject.

Supporting documents

Recruitment Information Form

We require that all candidates complete and submit a Recruitment Information Form (to be downloaded below). This form will be used by the recruitment panel to shortlist applicants – PLEASE NOTE THAT ONLY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THIS FORM WILL BE USED TO SHORTLIST CANDIDATES FOR INTERVIEW. This form should be completed and uploaded with other supporting documents. 

In order to reduce the impact of unconscious bias on recruitment, we ask that in this form you only provide the information requested. Information that is not relevant at this stage of assessment, including your name, gender, ethnicity and nationality, and the names of the Institutions where you trained, should not be included in this form. You will be asked to provide this information when you upload your application – please note that it will be held separately and will be used only for administrative purposes.

UofG WT Integrated Infection Biology PhD Programme Recruitment Information Form

Additionally, please ensure the following supporting documents are uploaded at the point of application.

  • CV/Resume
  • Degree certificate (if you have graduated prior to 1 July 2021)
  • Academic transcript
  • Passport (a scan of the photo page)
  • Details of referee 1 (should be from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability from your most recent study/programme)
  • Details of referee 2 (should be from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability)
    Names of your academic referees should be indicated on the application form. You must ensure that your referees submit their references to [email protected]. Your referees should state your name and the Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD programme on the reference letter as well as:
    • how they know you,
    • how long they have known you, 
    • what characteristics do you have that they think would make you a good PhD student, and
    • are you in top 5/10% of programme.

References should be signed and on headed paper. References must be received by 5 January 2021.  

English language proficiency
All non-UK candidates whose first language is not English must provide a certificate of proficiency in the English Language before they are able to matriculate at the University of Glasgow: (details in the section: College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences). Note: it is only necessary to provide evidence of English language proficiency if you are offered a place on the Programme, in order to meet University of Glasgow matriculation requirements. Evidence of English language proficiency is not required at the point of application.

Application closing date is 5 January 2021 with interviews scheduled to take place 15 – 17 February 2021.

Application Process

Seven studentships are available, five of which are open to students from anywhere in the world, and two of which are specifically for applicants from the programme’s partner countries: Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. To be considered for a position linked to a partner country, applicants must be a citizen of an African country and must have been normally resident in one of the partner countries for the majority of the preceding three years. Applicants who apply to the two positions linked to partner countries will also be considered for the other five positions.

Apply Here

Once you have all your supporting documentation outlined above, and meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply through our Online Application System, available here:


Note: you are not required to upload a research proposal for this programme, despite the online application requesting you to upload a copy as a supporting document. Within the section that requests supervisor and project information, please leave blank.

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