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The MRC Toxicology Unit provides a supportive learning environment designed to meet the scientific and transferable skills required for an internationally competitive career.  Our PhD Programme aims to train the scientific leaders of the future, giving them rewarding research projects with access to world-class facilities and expertise.  Students receive toxicology-specific training in the Unit and through the Integrated Toxicology Training Partnership (ITTP).

The PhD students at the MRC Toxicology Unit are integrated into the MRC doctoral training programme (DTP) of the University of Cambridge.

Students are registered for their PhD with the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences at the University of Cambridge and have membership of a University of Cambridge College


The Core Facilities support and interact with the research programs to provide cutting-edge technology in Proteomics, Electron Microscopy, Advanced Imaging, Flow Cytometry, Histopathology and Bioinformatics. 

Live cell imaging confocal, Cryo electron microscope, Mass spectrometry machine, Electron microscope

Student Testimonials

Rebekah Popovic - "The MRC Toxicology Unit offers expertise and excellent facilities, with state-of-the-art equipment and friendly staff, allowing you to successfully carry out your PhD research project." ​ (Full testimonial)

Tom Mulroney - "The Unit benefits from several high quality research facilities and has productive collaborations with other academic groups and industry in the UK" (Full testimonial)

PhD Supervision

Your supervisory team includes your primary supervisor, who is responsible for overseeing your work and general training, and one or more named advisers or second supervisors, who may be from a collaborating research group.

PhD studies within the Toxicology Unit include diverse training opportunities for all aspects of research and encourages the development of academic and transferable research skills.

The aim of the academic part of the programme is to:

  • gain experience in written and oral presentation of your work
  • monitor the quality of your research project
  • ensure that your PhD project is on track

Researcher Development

Great emphasis is placed on transferable skills training by the Research Councils and the University of Cambridge.  Your MRC Studentship provides funding for this training.

The University of Cambridge’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences runs a series of excellent courses.  Additional funding for high-cost training, policy internships and other exceptional training opportunities is available through the MRC Flexible Supplement.  The actual training you choose to take will depend on your needs, which will be assessed by your supervisor. 

The Toxicology Unit has an active researchers’ forum, founded and run entirely by our postdoctoral researchers and students, which organises numerous lectures and events specifically for this cohort.  Students receive toxicology-specific training in the Unit and through the Integrated Toxicology Training Partnership (ITTP).  Within the Unit, students attend the weekly seminar series, which covers a range of topics pertinent to the basic science that underpins modern toxicology research and the Masterclass seminar series.

Further information regarding graduate studentships can be found at


The Unit has funding for a number PhD studentships each year which are advertised in open competition. Funding includes University fees at the home student level and a tax-free maintenance stipend of £20,204 per annum (October 2023).

These studentships are open to UK citizens or overseas students who meet the UK residency requirements (home fees) ‘What is my Fee Status?’  A limited number are available for international students who are able to augment the funds to cover the extra costs associated with international student fees and we will support selected candidates to apply to external funding sources. There are many funding opportunities at Cambridge from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, Departments, Research Councils and central University funds. These can also supplement MRC Studentships for those ineligible for full funding. Note that there are differing deadlines for funding applications:

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