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The CRUK Cancer Centre in Oxford is offering twelve funded studentships for October 2021 in Cancer Science. There are 41 projects to choose from, two of which will be hosted and supervised by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (NDPCHS) of the University of Oxford.


With its first intake confirmed for 2020, the DPhil in Cancer Science Programme at the University of Oxford provides research-based doctoral training for cancer researchers from clinical, biological, engineering, mathematics and statistics backgrounds.  Successful applicants will receive a world-leading research training experience that integrates an education initiative spanning cancer patient care, tumour biology and research impact; on- course and post-programme mentorship; and a specialised, fundamental, subject-specific training programme that is tailored to individual research needs. 

The programme is unique and distinctive in offering integrated training across the following themes: Immunity, Infection & Inflammation; DNA Damage Response & Radiation Biology; Cancer Genetics & Epigenetics; and Cancer Big Data. It builds on Oxford’s outstanding research record in these areas, spanning both the University and Hospital Trust.


The Cancer Science Programme is offering a wide choice of interdisciplinary cutting-edge cancer research projects. When applying, applicants must include up to 3 ranked projects from the 2021 project list

The two projects that will be hosted in our department are listed here:

1. Personalised monitoring intervals for cancer surveillance (number 38 in project list)

Primary Supervisor, Jason Oke

Project summary: An increasing proportion of precancerous conditions and less advanced cancers are being managed conservatively with surveillance rather than immediate treatment and an increasing number of cancer survivors are being monitored for recurrence. Current surveillance protocols suggest periodic testing to monitor for disease progression. Whilst the evidence for which tests to use is of higher quality, the evidence for the timing of surveillance intervals is often weak with recommendations involving convenient periods of time e.g. every 6 months or annually. Guidelines rarely incorporate patient level risk factors or offer clear guidance on when surveillance could cease. We propose the development of a dynamic method to derive personalised monitoring intervals based on the patient’s current risk. The aim of this project is to develop a statistical monitoring method that could be applied to a wide range of clinical areas including cancer recurrence.


2. Presentation, Diagnosis and Outcomes of Hodgkin Lymphoma: the role of Primary Care (number 39 in project list)

Primary Supervisor: Clare Bankhead

Project summary: Lymphoma is the 5th commonest cancer in the UK and is broken down into 2 distinct types: Hodgkin (HL) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Significant challenges exist within primary care, to recognise and refer a patient with lymphoma. 

The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (NDPCHS) has direct access to linked primary and secondary care electronic health records data resources, including the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), QResearch, OpenSafely and the Oxford Research Oxford and Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical Informatics Digital Hub (ORCHID).

These data sources may be harnessed to address specific research questions to improve the diagnosis of lymphoma and the management of lymphoma survivors in primary care. Essentially the objectives are likely to include: utilising routinely collected data to explore the utility of blood and other tests, or combinations of symptom profiles to identify lymphoma with the aim to shorten the diagnostic interval.

For more information about these projects, please refer to the 2021 project list.  

Who are we looking for?

The scheme caters to researchers form a wide range of backgrounds. The three types of application welcomed are Clinical Trainees, Medical Undergraduates, and Non-Clinical/Fundamental Scientists. Eligibility is also defined here.


All offered places are fully funded at the home rate. This includes salary/stipend, University and College fees, and a research consumables budget of £13k p.a. International applicants would need to either source further funding or support themselves financially for the remailing fees. Click here for more information about funding for the Cancer Science Programme.

Apply now

Click here to find out how to apply for the DPhil in Cancer Science Programme.


Do you have any questions about this project? Get in touch


Project 38 - Lead supervisors

Project 39 - Lead supervisor:

Do you have any questions about this project? Email us at