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Description of the CIDCATS training programme (first year and beyond)


CIDCATS is a four-year PhD training programme consisting of two phases.  The Foundation Phase (Year 1) develops the students’ fundamental science, research skills and experience in interdisciplinary research as a preparation for each student’s individual research project in the Research Phase (Years 2-4).  Year 1 is specifically developed to be accessible to students in the Programme only, but students will be able to attend modules or courses offered by participating Departments as outlined below.

Year 1, Foundation Phase programme

Term 1 Briefly, during this term students will follow a special programme of  training including lectures, tutorials, workshops and a group-based research project.  This training will cover various aspects related to research in infectious diseases and will be delivered by academic staff in participating departments with relevant expertise. (biology, maths, modeling, drug design).  The group project has been pre-defined and will facilitate delivering training in a diverse  set of research skills and techniques over the various disciplines of CIDCATS.  The programme will be delivered in the Hub and CII.  The programme is attached as schedule and detailed description.  Group presentation at the end of term 1 will function to assess progress and to develop presentation skills.  Feedback will be provided.

Terms 2 and 3 in contrast will consist of a training programme developed with the student to meet their specific needs and interests. We expect approximately  50% of their time to be allocated to acquiring additional knowledge drawing upon existing Masters modules or developing a programme of self-directed learning on a specific topic with a suitable academic staff member as tutor.  The remainder of the time will be spent on a short research project (1 per term), which will give students an overview and understanding of research in different research areas and groups. The aim is to develop their skills on different problems in a range of research environments, providing them with experience with which to select their doctoral project and supervisors.  The student is fully embedded into the research groups/labs of the programme supervisor pool.  Projects will be devised to be a mixture of “wet-lab” and “dry” research, including those integrating both aspects wherever possible (10 weeks each).  Students will present their work to the cohort and supervisor pool in poster and oral format, respectively.

Cohesion will be supported by end of term meetings at which outcomes of the research project will be presented.   In addition, participation in both PhD general training elements and attendance at least one research seminar each week  will be required.

Students will meet with their mentor at least twice during the term to discuss progress in acquiring necessary knowledge and skills, and to identify other training needs/thesis interests.

Towards the end of term 3, students will initiate discussions to identify their preferred area of research and thesis supervisor, and in collaboration develop their PhD research proposal, to be submitted by summer and submitted to the Wellcome trust for approval.

Years 2-4, Research Phase

Research skills and knowledge will be gained in the context of performing original research in a supervisor’s lab.  For this programme, the student will be working on a interdisciplinary project with two supervisors from different disciplines. Supervision and progress will be monitored with regular meetings of the Thesis Advisory Panels according to the well-developed format and regulation of the Department of Biology.  Similarly, transferable skills will be gained using the Biology model of following training and reflection based on individual needs and backgrounds.