Black Leaders PhD programme2023-11-17T13:01:26+00:00

For students of black ethnicity embarking on their research career
Applications for 2024 PhD studentships are closed now! Application through Cancer Research UK/ Windsor Fellowship required in addition!

Windsor Fellowship application is open now!
CRUK CoL Centre Black Leaders programme application is closed now!

CRUK Black Leaders in Cancer PhD Scholarship programme

The CoL Centre is participating in the pilot of CRUK’s new Black Leaders in Cancer PhD Scholarship Programme, which is run in collaboration with Black in Cancer and the Windsor Fellowship.

This programme provides a unique opportunity for students from Black heritage backgrounds to pursue a four year fully-funded PhD in cancer research. Those students will benefit from being part of our CoL Centre training programme, and from a comprehensive programme of mentoring, career support, leadership training and networking led by the Windsor Fellowship and Black in Cancer. By helping candidates from Black heritage backgrounds build their career in cancer research-related fields, this exciting programme is designed to make an immediate and tangible impact on the diversity of the research workforce.

Students will follow the four-year version of the CRUK CoL Centre PhD training programme. Based in their primary supervisor’s research group, students will work across the Centre, for example when carrying out their research placements or accessing the Centre’s infrastructure cores.

Find out more about the CRUK Black Leaders in Cancer programme here. Or, if you would like to learn more on the background of this initiative, read this thought-provoking feature.

The PhD programme

The programme will begin with an induction programme introducing students to the Centre, the training programme, their university of registration and to carrying out a PhD. Trainees will submit reports, give talks and meet with their thesis committees at specific points on the programme and be able to access a vast range of scientific and transferable skills training via the Centre partners and beyond. Early on in the programme, students will work with their supervisors to develop a customised training plan that is tailored to the student’s background and project requirements, and which includes multi-disciplinary skills training and three two-month research placements with other groups in the Centre.

Supervisors, PhD registration and studentships

PhD students will be based in their primary supervisor’s research group and register for their PhD with the primary supervisor’s university. They will have a secondary supervisor from one of the Centre’s other institutions, and may spend some time with their research group too. All students will have a three-person thesis committee made up of Centre faculty and experts in the research field. There will regular meetings with the committee to discuss progress and receive guidance and advice. Successful candidates will receive a £23,000 tax-free student stipend (living allowance) per year for 4 years plus payment of university tuition fees at Home status.


This programme is aimed at students from Black heritage backgrounds pursuing a PhD in cancer-related fields.

This scheme is open to people who self-identify as being from a Black heritage background, including a mixed background, for example: Black African, Black Caribbean, Black Other, Mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or other Black backgrounds). You will need to summit an initial application to the Windsor Fellowship.

The funding for this studentship covers students with UK Home tuition fee status only. For more information on Home tuition fee status please visit the UKCISA website. Please note that we will only be able to offer studentships to candidates that have UK home tuition fee status or provide evidence that they can fund the international portion of the tuition fee from external sources (i.e. not self-funded).

The standard CoL Centre PhD programme and studentship academic eligibility criteria are:

  • A first or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent from a non-UK university) in a relevant subject.
  • Appropriate research experience as part of, or outside of, an undergraduate or masters degree course in a relevant subject.
  • Appropriate English language skills.

How to apply

The Windsor Fellowship is running 2 insight sessions this year:

  • 21 September 2023 at 12:30 – 13:30
  • 11 October 2023 at 12:30 – 13:30

The sessions are an opportunity for candidates interested in the PhD programme to find out more information and ask questions to our panel from the training centres, Cancer Research and Black in Cancer. You can learn about the programme and the insight sessions here.

  • Submit a formal application to the Windsor Fellowship, who will confirm with us that you are eligibility for the programme
  • Applications for the CoL PhD programme open now. Information on the specific projects can be found here.
  • You will need to complete stage 2 in addition.
  • If you are shortlisted, you’ll be invited to attend an interview at the CoL Centre in January 2024
Projects for the 2024 intake recruitment can be found here

For general enquiries regarding the CoL Centre training programme please email: