Dr Hugh S P Binnie PhD Scholarships

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Research will take place in the world leading UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh

Photograph of female scientist using a microscope

PhD Scholarships are available for non-clinical students.....

Photograph of researchers analysing human brain MRI scans

.....and for clinically qualified candidates

General Information

We are delighted to announce The Dr Hugh S. P. Binnie PhD Scholarships for Research into Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This exciting new scheme provides opportunities for outstanding scientists and clinicians to undertake a PhD in dementias research within the world-leading UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh.

The scheme is now open for applications and the deadline is 31st March at 5pm BST.


About the scheme

Dr Hugh S P Binnie Scholars will register for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, and undertake a 3-year bespoke research project that is designed around their scientific vision.

The Scholars will be mentored and supervised by one of the Principal Investigators (PIs) at the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) at the University of Edinburgh. Each PI is a world-class scientist in their field and experienced mentor; their teams are welcoming, determined and energetic and will provide each scholar with an unbeatable training experience.

Launched in 2017, the UK DRI is the single biggest investment the UK has ever made in dementia thanks to £290 million from founding funders the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The UK DRI recruits the best scientists who work together at pace to catalyse discoveries. Edinburgh is one of seven centres across the UK; having multiple centres allows the institute to bring people together for shared scientific inspiration, whilst making the most of cutting-edge tools and infrastructure locally. 

This scholarship scheme is offering two scholarships to start in Autumn 2021, and a further two to start in Autumn 2022.

Each year, one of each pair of scholarships will be allocated to a non-clinical student; the other will be clinically qualified.

The scholarship scheme is made possible through a generous donation to the University of Edinburgh by the Binnie family in memory of Dr Hugh S.P. Binnie MD, who was a 1952 graduate in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh.


Eligibility, funding and how to apply

The eligibility requirements and funding differ between the non-clinical and clinical scholarships. Please ensure that you read the information that is appropriate to you, and apply via the correct route. Applications made through both routes will not be considered.

Research opportunities

The scheme is not offering prescribed “off the shelf” PhD projects. Instead, the successful applicants will work with UK DRI academics after an offer has been made, to devise a bespoke research project that aligns with the strategy of the UK DRI and the scholars’ scientific vision.

In this way, we will establish a good fit between the scholars and their supervisors, and ensure that the project aligns with the very latest research priorities of the UK DRI and thus UK dementia research.

The mission of the UK DRI at Edinburgh is to elucidate the interactions within and between the brain vasculature, neurons, macroglia and microglia which control the trajectory of neurodegenerative disorders leading to dementia, and exploit this knowledge for therapeutic benefit. The researchers use diverse approaches from animal and human stem cell models through to human imaging and experimental medicine.

The scholars’ principal supervisor will be drawn from the pool of PIs of the UK DRI at Edinburgh. For more information on individuals’ research interests and the best fit for your scientific vision, please see the UK DRI at Edinburgh webpages.

Scholars will have additional support through other members of their supervisory team and thesis committee to mentor and guide them towards successful and timely completion of their PhD.


Research environment

The scholars will conduct their research in the newly refurbished laboratories of the >£20M UK DRI at Edinburgh in Chancellor’s Building, Edinburgh BioQuarter. The laboratories are fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including for RNA-seq, proteomics, chimeric transplants, antibody microarrays, mass spectrometry, stem cell culture, MRI, flow cytometry, in vivo multiphoton imaging and electron microscopy.

The scholars will join the active postgraduate/early-career researcher community of Edinburgh Neuroscience. Edinburgh Neuroscience is an umbrella organisation representing the entire Neuroscience community at the University (200 independent researchers) that aims to deliver world-class discovery-to-translation research into the brain and mind across the life-course. The ethos in Edinburgh Neuroscience is supportive, collaborative, inclusive, outward-looking and vibrant. Edinburgh Neuroscience scored 100% for research environment in the last UK-wide Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Through Edinburgh Neuroscience and the University’s Institute for Academic Development, scholars will be offered training opportunities in research and transferable skills such as data management, presentation skills, scientific communication and public engagement, which will well equip them for further training as academic research leaders.