Surgical and orthopaedic innovation theme PhD studentship

  • 5 May 2023

The NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (Bristol BRC) is offering one further place on a prestigious four-year PhD programme at the University of Bristol.

We have one studentship available in our surgical and orthopaedic innovation theme, with three projects to choose from. Our programme follows a 1+3 year structure, with the first year giving you a solid training foundation for your three-year PhD project.

Our world-leading researchers have diverse skills and work together on exciting interdisciplinary research projects. The surgical and orthopaedic innovation theme particularly focuses on developing novel surgical and orthopaedic devices and procedures, improving patient care and outcomes through the development of novel co-interventions, and creating patient-centred, transparent systems for surgical innovation. Our PhD programme and training environment aims to provide you with the necessary skills to succeed in this field.

One place is available for students with skills in qualitative methods, health research, patient-centred approaches, or health psychology.  We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

If you would like to discuss any accessibility requirements for the recruitment process or the role, please contact Hazel Phillips on

Key dates

Applications are invited for four studentships starting in October 2023.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 GMT, Saturday 10 June 2023.

Candidates will be asked to attend an interview at the end of June.

What we offer

  • A stipend at UKRI rates for four years, PhD registration fees at UK rates and funds for research expenses and travel
  • A rich multi-disciplinary environment giving you the opportunity to develop a wealth of new skills and knowledge in translational research
  • Diverse training and experience from the first year, ensuring a solid foundation for your main three-year project
  • Expert academic supervision from at least two supervisors and a rich collegiate atmosphere providing a wealth of academic support

Programme structure

Year 1

  • 1 or 2 short mini projects
  • Short courses

Your first year will give you the opportunity to work on one or two mini research projects (see indicative PhD mini project examples on the University of Bristol website) with different supervisors. These give you an excellent opportunity to explore different research areas and develop inter-disciplinary skills. The projects also often result in conference presentations or journal publications.

You will also be able to attend some of the School’s internationally recognised short courses to learn or enhance skills in qualitative research and study design. In parallel with these you will be given training in key core skills including scientific writing, communication skills, patient and public involvement, research reproducibility and more.

Towards the end of your first year you will start work on your PhD project.

Years 2–4

  • Main PhD project

Your main PhD project will be the primary focus of the remainder of your studentship. By this stage you will have learnt many of the key skills required to begin your research, and will have a network of friends and colleagues who with whom you can share experience and advice.

You will work in a rich multi-disciplinary research environment with internationally recognised research teams and superb research support. Our students are highly successful in securing fellowships and postdoctoral jobs in research, with many choosing to continue their research within the University.

About us

All your studies will be at the University of Bristol, a leading UK research university. The university is near the centre of Bristol, a vibrant city in the South West of England.

The NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Bristol offers an integrated approach to postgraduate education in a collaborative and multidisciplinary environment. We have strong collaborations with NHS organisations in the region as well as the Bradford Institute for Health Research. See our about us page for more information.

How to apply

We require:

  • A completed University of Bristol application form. Please select ‘Population Health PhD’ for this programme. In the funding section of the application please check ‘Other’ and state ‘NIHR BRC funding’
  • A narrative CV (max two sides of A4) uploaded in the ‘Personal statement’ area of the application system, addressing the following points:
    • Two examples of your achievements in research related activities (for example undergraduate, masters or postgraduate work experience)
    • Two examples of your achievements in non-research related activities (for example outside of academic study)
    • What do you hope to gain from doing a PhD with us?
    • Please provide any additional relevant information to support your application (for example to tell us about alternative career paths or career breaks)
  • Two letters of reference
  • A copy of your degree certificates and transcripts

Please note the instructions on the programme website on how to apply supercede those within the school admissions statement. A standard CV and a research statement are NOT required.

We will assess your online application based on the following criteria:

  • Proven academic quality: normally evidenced by an excellent performance to first degree and/or Master’s level but may also be demonstrated by an equivalent, high quality provision of evidence related to professional practice
  • Research potential: evidenced through examples of achievement within academia/research related projects and outside of academia, evidencing relevant skills
  • Personal motivation and commitment: evidenced through supporting statement of understanding of the programme and enthusiasm, interest and commitment

If you are short-listed for interview, we will ask you to give a presentation on your first choice project at interview and we will provide you with some guidance about this.

International students

We provide full funding for the tuition fee for UK students. Other international students would need to be able to demonstrate that they have alternative sources of funding to cover the overseas fees for four years. Visa costs and health surcharges need to be covered by the applicant.

Self-funded students

If you have already secured funding through a government scheme, employer or similar you can follow this four-year model providing you are well qualified. Please get in touch to discuss this further.

UKRI stipend scales

Information on stipend scales is available on the UKRI website.

Find out more

For queries about the application process please email

For informal enquiries about the programme, contact Professor Emma Clark on or Dr Leila Rooshenas on