Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Recruitment Questions

I would like to apply for this programme, what could I do to improve my current research skills?

You could discuss this with your current employer to see what opportunities are available and, if able to secure time for this, you may wish to reach out to local clinical academics or supervisors of projects that interest you to discuss any opportunities for participation.  

How will candidates be shortlisted?

Candidates will be shortlisted based on the essential and desirable criteria included in the application. It is essential that you address how you meet all outlined criteria in your application.   

How are candidates recruited for specific projects?

Applicants choose which projects they are interested in. All candidates are welcome to apply for any of the available projects and the strongest applicants will be recruited. Applicants must contact the supervisor of their preferred project/s to discuss them (we expect you to have contacted the supervisor of your preferred project before you apply). Contact details are available on the programme website. Only one candidate per project will be recruited. Applicants will be ranked after interview. The available projects will be updated every year. Each university has a maximum number of fellowships to offer each year. 
You may only submit a final application for one project.

Can I change my project choice after application?

If successful, you will be offered a fellowship at a particular institution to do the specific project you have applied for. We do not expect complete changes of project topic or focus except in cases of exceptional unavoidable circumstances.

I have my own research ideas. Can I undertake them?

Projects must fall within one of our 5 themes, with a clear focus on mental health and neurosciences. Therefore, we expect our trainees to select a project (and associated supervisor/s) from our list. As with any PhD, there is flexibility within most projects to tailor them to an individual’s interests and so there is scope to modify and expand on these project proposals in collaboration with the supervisors.  

How do I choose a supervisor?

Please refer to the DTP themes and approaches pages on our website. You will find relevant projects within each theme. You can contact the supervisors directly and discuss with them your areas of research interest. You can also contact relevant leads for each theme, and they will be able to signpost you to the most relevant supervisors.  

How fully formed does the research proposal have to be on application?

You will initially be choosing a project from those identified on the website, so you will not need to submit a research proposal as part of the expression of interest stage.
If invited to submit a full application you will be asked to go into detail about your proposed project and the supervisory team in more detail (max 1000 words). It is expected that you will discuss your application with your supervisor prior to submitting. 

Do I have to apply to the University that has the partnership with my Trust? E.g., if I am based at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, am I restricted to apply only to University of Warwick?

No, you can apply to conduct the PhD at any of the four institutions and this should be determined by how your research interests align with the supervisors/projects at the different universities.

Eligibility Questions

Do I need a masters before starting?

No, a masters is not specifically a requirement of the programme. However, individual institutions and PhD programmes will have their own entry requirements, of which a masters may be specifed. Please check your eligibility against the PhD course linked on your chosen project to assess your eligibility.

Would I be considered as a dentist/healthcare professional?

Yes dentists are included as healthcare professionals. You must be registered with a national professional regulatory body. 

I work as a Research Assistant. Would I be eligible to apply?

We can only accept applications from healthcare professionals who are fully qualified (except for medical professionals – see separate eligibility requirements) and have full registration with their statutory regulator (e.g., HCPC, NMC, etc.).

I am a medical trainee and will be due to complete training by the programme start date. Am I eligible to apply?

If you complete your training by the programme start date you are not eligible to apply. The scheme is for individuals in a Training Programme registered by the UK or Republic of Ireland. Medical applicants are welcome from all medical and surgical specialities (including General Practice) and will be doctors in training (holding a National Training Number). Individuals who have completed specialist training are not eligible.

I am an SAS doctor, am I eligible to apply?

Medical applicants should hold a National Training Number and so SAS doctors are not eligible to apply.

Can GPs apply?

Applications are welcome from GPs who have completed their training (post-CCT) and are within the first 4 years post-CCT (full-time equivalent), provided they are fully registered with their professional body in the UK/Ireland.  

Can those that are undertaking Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training apply?

The scheme is for individuals in a Training Programme registered by the UK or Republic of Ireland. Individuals who have completed specialist training are not eligible.

I come from a non-medical discipline and I am currently undertaking my foundation training, am I eligible to apply?

Applicants from non-medical clinical disciplines must have a minimum of 2 years clinical experience after completing all of their professional training.  

Does BABCP accreditation count as a registered body for eligibility?

Yes, only for psychotherapists, CBT therapists and Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, because they are not covered by HCPC. However, they need full accreditation with the BABCP. All ‘Practitioner Psychologists’ need to be HCPC registered.

Are Clinical Research Practitioners eligible?

Clinical Research Practitioners who are on the CRP Accredited Register are eligible to apply as healthcare scientists.

Is the programme only eligible for people who are currently working or have worked in the NHS?

The programme is open to anyone who has worked or is working in the NHS. The key criterion is that you must be a current UK/ROI-registered healthcare professional.

I am a trainee counselling psychologist and CBT psychotherapist currently registered with the BABCP and BPS as such, would I be eligible for this PhD programme?

Trainee psychologists are ineligible for the DTP unfortunately.

Funding and Contract Arrangements Questions

What does the funding cover?

The funding will cover NHS salaries (based on the current pay that the applicant is on). We expect the clinical salary will be commensurate with your existing NHS salary, but our funders have set the salary ceiling based on the applicants core clinical discipline and, whilst we will aim to match this, we are constrained within these limits. This is a full-time PhD programme, and applicants can spend up to 1 day a week working clinically in an area that is related to their research. Funding for this one day of clinical activity is paid through the grant. UK (home) tuition fees will be covered. We will also cover research expenses and training costs. 

If I am offered a PhD place, can I defer starting for a year?

No, we will expect you to start with the cohort in the year they apply. We will make an exception only in some exceptional cases.

How does annual leave/sick leave/maternity leave work on the programme?

This is based on your current NHS contract. The PhD programme is only buying out your time, so no there will be no change to your current contract (but only changes to your job plan). We expect NHS Trusts to enable you to resume your role once you have completed the PhD. 

For medics this will be based on your University contract.

More information for Wellcome funded students can be found here.

PhD and Clinical Work Questions

How many days a week will the programme be?

This is a full-time PhD. PhD students will be permitted to take up to 1 day a week to practice clinically in an area aligned to their research.

What is the 20% clinical work time allocated for?

The 20% clinical work: this time has been allocated to ensure (i) that the healthcare professionals can keep their clinical/professional registration open/active while they are doing their PhD; (ii) to enable a smooth transition/translation of their research into clinical practice – therefore, we would expect that the clinical activity is related to the PhD student’s research. 

Are scholars required to be based in the Midlands for the duration of the fellowship or is commuting possible?

We expect all our PhD students to be based in the Midlands for the duration of their PhDs, as we anticipate that they will be working in one of our NHS Trusts in the Midlands. We would also expect our PhD students to attend in-person training sessions, so living in the Midlands will make this easier.

However, in some cases we can make exceptions if students live outside the Midlands, but they must be in close proximity to the university they are registered with.  

Can I continue working in Out of Hours?

The restrictions on clinical work apply to paid time in the day, so you can, in principle, work in out of hours in addition but only if it does not interfere with your daytime work and research (for example, overnight out of hours shifts before a working day would not be acceptable).  

Can this programme be done remotely?

While some remote working will likely be possible, depending on your host institution arrangements, we expect applicants to spend a reasonable amount of time at their host institution to participate in any required face to face training and to take advantage of informal learning and collaboration opportunities.  

Where will teaching and training activities be delivered?

Teaching and training will be across the participating universities. As well as programme training, the scholars will be expected to undertake generic skills training in their home institution.