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Two new PhD programmes announced to further scientific excellence

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This week, Wellcome announced £127m funding to support 23 new PhD programmes in 15 institutions across the UK including two from King’s. 

The programmes are part of the Wellcome’s new approach to PhD funding that combines high-quality science training with promoting a positive research environment. 

The two awarded programmes from King’s are ‘Advanced therapies for regenerative medicine’ led by Dr Francesca Spagnoli, Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and ‘Neuro-Immune Interactions in Health and Disease’ led by Professor Leonie Taams, Department of Inflammation Biology. 

The ‘Neuro-Immune Interactions in Health and Disease’ programme is a joint initiative between the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, co-directed by Dr Franziska Denk and Professor Stephen McMahon from the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases. The programme brings together immunology, inflammation biology, neuroscience and mental health research. All students will be jointly supervised by co-supervisors from neurosciences/mental health and immunology/inflammation biology. 

'We are delighted with this award. Our mission is to train a new generation of scientists to connect research across neuroscience, psychiatry and immunology. We look forward to welcoming 30 students over the next 5 years to work with us on this innovative and important research programme. We would also like to thank King’s for their various seed funding schemes that made this award possible: the King’s Together and the Leading Researchers Programmes' said Professor Leonie Taams.

The ‘Advanced therapies for regenerative medicine’ programme will train a new generation of researchers in the advanced therapies that underpin regenerative medicine, including cell transplantation, gene therapy and endogenous tissue repair. At the heart of this emerging field is the importance of interdisciplinary research and translation of laboratory-based studies to patient benefit. 

'I am extremely proud and excited that our new PhD Programme in ‘Advanced Therapies for Regenerative Medicine’ was funded by the Wellcome Trust. This is a great success for our current students and pool of supervisors of the ‘Cell therapies and regenerative medicine’ PhD Programme, for the Centre of Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and for King’s. All together we have created a vibrant research environment where the culture of training is valued together with the excellence in science. I look forward to leading the new programme and shaping an even more inclusive and creative research culture' said Dr Francesca Spagnoli.  

Professor Rebecca Oakey, Dean for Doctoral Studies, Centre for Doctoral Studies said about the announcement: “King’s new postgraduate research strategy will grow our PhD community over the next ten years, attracting the very best students and providing the very best student experience. This will only be possible if we offer high quality, funded training opportunities. This is exactly what Professor Taams and Dr Spagnoli have done, and I’m delighted to celebrate their achievement.’’

Professor Reza Rezavi, Vice President & Vice-Principal (Research) added: 'Professor Taams and Dr Spagnoli are both inspiring research leaders, well equipped to facilitate the development of young researchers in Neuro-Immune Interactions in Health and Disease and Advanced Therapies for Regenerative Medicine, respectively. These PhD programmes, which are embedded in our vibrant health research ecosystem and working in partnership with our Centre for Doctoral Studies, offer world class support alongside a tailored training portfolio designed to enable cohorts of students to fulfil their potential.' 

The Wellcome programmes aim to improve culture for PhD training by providing a quality research environment, deliver quality supervision, taking a student-centred approach and sharing practise. For further information about their refreshed approach, read this blog by Anne-Marie Coriat, Head of UK and Europe Research Landscape, Wellcome.  



For any further media information please contact: Robin Bisson, Senior Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, / +44 20 7848 5377.