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Mechanics of Life Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship

 About the Mechanics of Life Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship

There is rapidly mounting evidence that mechanical force impacts a large variety of biological functions including motility, differentiation, infection, and gene expression. Yet, the role of physical perturbations such as force in regulating human physiology is poorly understood. The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme 'Understanding the Mechanics of Life' aims to train future research leaders to develop new techniques, methodologies and analytical tools required to resolve outstanding challenges underpinning Mechanobiology across a broad range of biological themes. 

The programme builds upon current research and supervisory strengths at King’s College London, encompassing three faculties and eight Departments, and is a hub of postgraduate training in Mechanobiology in the UK. Through a 3.5-year PhD project and intensive training through a mechanobiology bootcamp in Year 1, dedicated workshops and seminar series, and possibilities to carry out international research placements in partner institutions, students will be trained to work confidently and seamlessly across the Physical Sciences-Biology interface to revolutionise the life sciences with breakthrough understanding, disruptive technologies and ambitious innovation.

Who is it for?

The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme ‘Understanding the Mechanics of Life' is aimed at students with a degree either in the physical sciences (i.e. physicists, chemists, mathematicians, materials scientists, engineers, computer scientists) or in the biological sciences (i.e. biologists, biochemists, physicians) who show a deep interest in unlocking the complexity and challenges of mechanobiology. We are interested in recruiting an academically excellent cohort, with complementary skills, curiosity, creativity, and aptitude to enthusiasticallyrespond to challenging problems.


Visit the Mechanics of Life Leverhulme DTP project page to find out about the full project portfolio for students starting in October 2021.

Students who join the programme will spend the first several weeks at King’s talking to potential supervisors, meeting with research groups, and touring research facilities before selecting a PhD project. Students will have an academic advisor to help them make informed project selections.

Each student will train in more than one specific discipline in their individual projects, and will be supported by two academic supervisors with complementary expertise.  


Application guidance 

Before applying, please read the following document carefully. Please note that applications that do not follow the steps in the application guidance document will not be considered.

You can find out more information about entry requirements and fees and funding on the  Mechanics of Life course page. This is also where you will find a link to King's Apply to submit your application. 

Application deadline

Applications must be received by 22 May 2021. 


The Centre for Doctoral Studies offers:

  • Doctoral Essentials: a series of training courses aimed at helping students immerse into the PhD lifestyle, with each course focusing on a particular aspect of the PhD process
  • Career & Employability: do you know what will be your next step after your PhD? This series of training sessions will give you plenty of tips to prepare your future transition beyond the PhD
  • Personal Effectiveness: would you like to learn about being calm and working effectively under pressure? This series will prepare you to cope with those critical moments of your PhD work

Find out more on the  Centre for Doctoral Studies website.

The Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre offers: 

  • Molecular Basis of Disease: this theme concentrates on increasing our understanding of the basis of human disease
  • Imaging, Computational and Technological Approaches to Health: this theme explores research areas including clinical and molecular imaging, computational modelling, “big data” research and high throughput technologies

Find out more on the Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre website.



Contact us

For all general enquiries


Find out more and apply  



Management team

  • Professor Sergi Garcia-Manyes, Director
  • Dr Katelyn Spillane, Co-Director
  • Professor Juan Martin-Serrano
  • Professor Jody Rosenblatt
  • Professor Malcolm Irving