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Mechanics of Life Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme MPhil / PhD

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The Mechanics of Life Doctoral Scholarship Programme is a multi-disciplinary doctoral training scheme funded by the Leverhulme Trust. 

This Programme aims to train future research leaders to tackle key outstanding questions in biology from a distinctly mechanical perspective. It will train interdisciplinary scientists to develop new techniques, methodologies and analytical tools required to resolve outstanding challenges underpinning Mechanobiology across a broad range of biological themes.

The course is unique to the UK and Europe it will build on current research and is complemented by the establishment of a wider international partnership.

Related course in this area: Biological Physics Across Scales (BiPAS) MPhil/PhD

Key information

Duration 3.5 years

Study mode Full-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences

Department Department of Chemistry Department of Physics



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Course detail


This doctoral scholarship programme is for physical and biological scientists - physicists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, biophysicists, microbiologists, biochemists and related disciplines - have an interest in unlocking the complexity and challenges of mechanobiology.

Students will be supported by two project co-supervisors. When possible one will be a physical scientist and the other a life scientist who are both fully committed to an interdisciplinary training approach.

See the mechanics of life programme pages for more information.

Postgraduate training

The training included on the programme will include:
  • King’s central resources, encompassing transferrable skills training,
  • Tailored workshops in research integrity and ethics and Entrepreneurship, complemented by Bespoke resources, including a Mechanobiology bootcamp,
  • Research seminars delivered by the supervisory team, focusing on specific techniques and their applicability to research questions relevant to mechanobiology. These seminars will provide breadth to student education in mechanobiology that complements the focused, in-depth project-based research.
  • When possible, students will be encouraged to undertake a placement of up to 3 months.
  • Seminar Series - monthly research colloquia with speakers drawn from the Leverhulme PhD supervisor pool as well as outstanding external scientists. Speakers will target their talks to the level and scientific background of PhD students and aim to give ‘big picture’ insight into their research field and how it fits within the broader context of mechanobiology.
  • Annual Symposium. This two-day annual event will include scientific sessions that cover the breadth of interdisciplinary research fields included in the doctoral Programme and will feature first class national and international speakers who are invited by the students. Students will showcase their work with posters.

Head of group/division

Professor Sergi Garcia-Manyes, Director

Doctor Katelyn Spillane, Co-Director

Professor Juan Martin-Serrano

Professor Jody Rosenblatt

Professor Malcolm Irving

Contact email address: Mechanicsoflife@kcl.ac.uk


  • Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine 
  • Faculty of Dentistry Oral & Craniofacial Sciences


  • School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences
  • School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences


  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Infectious Diseases
  • Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Randall Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biophysics
  • Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology

Contact email

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants must have or be predicted to obtain a BSc with first-class honours or upper division second-class honours (2:1), or a Master's degree with Merit or Distinction. Degrees must be either in a physical sciences subject (such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, or related discipline) or in the biological sciences (such as biology, biochemistry, microbiology).

Please contact us if you are unsure about whether your qualifications are suitable for admission to the mechanics of Life programme. 

English Language Requirements

 Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements. The Mechanics of Life doctoral scholarship falls within Band D.

International Requirements

 Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.


Application procedure

Submit an online application via King's Apply. For 'Programme Name', enter 'Mechanics of Life Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme (MPhil/PhD)'. Select date / week commencing: 1 October 2022. It is important that you select this programme of study and start date.


Personal statement and supporting information

Please ensure that you read the ‘how to apply’ guidance document before you apply. Applications that do not follow the steps in the application guidance document will not be considered. Further information on the training programme can be found on the Mechanics of Life programme page

Personal Statement       

Please upload a PDF of your personal statement: (i) Why you want to join the Mechanics of Life Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme at King’s College London; (ii) How your experience leading up to now has prepared you to pursue a PhD; and (iii) Your short-term and long-term career goals, and how a PhD will help you to achieve them.

Research Proposal                         

No research proposal is required.

Previous Academic Study            

A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents. If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to submit an official transcript of your results so far.


Please provide contact details for two academic referees.


Please attach under the Employment History section a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that includes details of academic and non-academic experience

Course intake

7 per year

Application closing date

Please check the Mechanics of Life programme page for application deadlines.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

Studentship Award and Eligibility

All studentships are funded awards for 3.5 years and include tuition fees, stipend, and a research and training support grant (RTSG).

Tuition fees: Tuition fees will be fully covered by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme at the UK Tuition Fee rate for the duration of the funded period. In exceptional cases International Tuition Fees may be covered by a fee waiver.

Stipend: Students will receive a tax-free stipend at UKRI rates. For 2021/22, the stipend will be £17,609 per annum.

RTSG: A generous allowance will be provided for research-related costs, including consumables, attendance at UK and international conferences, and training.

Eligibility: Both UK and overseas students are eligible to apply. Studentships for international students will be limited in number and competitive, and we encourage strong international candidates to apply.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

King's Careers and Employability Service runs a careers programme which includes skills sessions and visits from top employers.


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Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

View guide

Sound like the course for you?

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