Towards integrative interdisciplinary research

CIDCATS is a cross-disciplinary PhD training programme that will provide you with the skills and experience necessary to work effectively across traditional disciplinary boundaries. The focus is on developing mathematical, statistical and computational skills, and combining them with experimental approaches, to support integrative biological research in the area of infectious disease

Training that adapts to your background and skills

The programme provides flexible training that is adaptable to your and background skills and to those of other students in your cohort.

Programme Structure and Timeline

CIDCATS is a 4 year programme consisting of two phases: a Foundation Phase (Year 1) develops your basic science, research skills and experience in interdisciplinary research as a preparation for the Research Phase (Years 2-4) where you pursue your individual PhD research project.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Foundation Phase


Group project

Rotation projects

Professional development

Research Phase

PhD project research

Transferable skills training

Assessment & Progression

Feedback is provided on selected Tutorial elements and on the Group and Rotation projects via posters, reports and presentations. Student progression to PhD is subject to satisfactory performance/development on their Rotations in Year 1. A step-off award of MSc by Research is available for students who fail to progress beyond Year 1 (or who later step-off due to other circumstances).

Monitoring & Support

A multi-tiered support system: Overall student progress is monitored by the PEC. In Year 1, the students are assigned a staff mentor and student buddy from an earlier cohort. In Years 2-4, the mentor can become part of the PhD Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) - a well-proven support mechanism.

see student support fig.

Foundation Phase (Year 1)

Tutorials - A range of workshops, seminars and practical sessions. Topics include Molecular and Cell Biology; Biomedicine; Immunology and Infection; Data Analysis, modelling and simulation; History of Biomedicine.

Research Projects - You will undertake 3 research projects (1 group-based, 2 individual). The group project develops basic biological laboratory skills and data collection and team-working skills essential for effective interdisciplinary biomedical research. The individual projects are “rotations”, allowing you to gain experience of different techniques and approaches in different research environments; stretching and diversification from your scientific background is encouraged.

Professional Development - You will benefit from a balanced programme of training in broader research-related skills to enhance your career prospects (eg Individual and Team Working; Science Communication; Public Engagement). This is tailored to individual needs, taking into account previous experience and future career aims.

Thesis Development - At the end of the Foundation Phase, you will develop (and submit for approval to the programme committee) a project proposal for your PhD thesis. You will have the chance to work with interdisciplinary supervisors drawn from across the University’s departments and research centres.

Research Phase (Years 2-4)

Focus on your PhD research project with submission of your thesis by end of Year 4. On-going group activities, (e.g. workshops, journal clubs, research symposia), skills training and outreach activities.