Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health


PhD Programme

The aim of our Graduate PhD Programme is to train talented individuals for future roles in science and technology or in the communication and wider application of these disciplines. We provide an environment that provides students with a profound knowledge base in one of our research programmes (EpigeneticsLymphocyte Signalling, Signalling) and aims to sharpen critical abilities through exposure to the discipline of hypothesis-driven research.

Babraham offers a first-class Graduate Training Programme: while the emphasis is on qualifying students for a career in research at international level, careful attention is also paid to transferable skills and career advice so that those few students electing not to stay at the bench can instead use their skills productively. Students are not ‘extra pairs of hands’ to be squeezed into a lab whenever possible, but instead a carefully selected, valued and nurtured addition to academic life at the Institute.  For more details please contact,

Supervision and Monitoring

The progress of students at the Institute is monitored by the Institute Graduate Committee, which meets monthly. Within the Institute each student has a Personal Committee which supports them through his/her studies. This consists of the following:

  • The ‘Supervisor’ with whom he or she has day-to-day contact to plan and monitor work (particularly during the first few months) and to advise on the putting together of the thesis

  • The ‘Mentor' usually someone working in a similar field, the Mentor acts as a second point of call for the student and can offer broad advice on experimental design, laboratory techniques etc., and day to day questions in the absence of the Supervisor

  • An ‘Assessor’ this person is from another laboratory, or may be from outside the Institute, and acts to review the student’s progress independently

  • A ‘University Supervisor’ who works in a similar or complementary research field and who can provide additional input for the student’s project, as well as facilitating networking with University Departments.


Babraham has achieved excellent external evaluation of its Graduate Programme and we are committed to ensuring that the Programme evolves to yet higher standards of excellence.
Formal assessments occur at fixed points throughout the 3 or 4 years of the PhD course. 

  • At 2 months - Students write a report to ensure that they are clear with the aims and objectives of their thesis project and that all the necessary reagents and equipment are in place for their studies. 

  • At 8 months - They write a Registration Report to ensure that the aims of the project are being fulfilled and that no unexpected complications have arisen with their project. 

  • Both reports are formally considered, together with the student’s training needs, at an interview with the student’s Personal Committee.

  • All information is then considered by the Graduate Committee who make a recommendation on whether the student should be formally registered with the University of Cambridge for the PhD degree.

PhD students in 2014


The student writes a Thesis Plan outlining the work they have already carried out and the work they need to finish off for each of the potential chapters at the beginning of their 3rd year (and it is revised at the beginning of the 4th year for 4 year studentships). This report is reviewed in meetings with the student’s Personal Committee who report to the Graduate Committee.

All students are required to present their work at our Annual Student Poster Day. They also give a short oral presentation to their research group in their first year followed by a 20 min presentation to the Graduate programme in their second year and a full Institute Seminar in their final year.