Postgraduate training

Applications for PhDs commencing in Sept 2017 are now open.
The deadline is 5th January 2017.


Euan MacDonald Centre studentships

Through the generosity of our donors & fundraisers, the Centre normally funds one non-clinical PhD studentship per year. The best student is chosen on the basis of application, interview & references, and then chooses the project he or she is most interested in.

The studentship includes the standard provision of:

  • _DSR4247Stipend for three years
  • UK/EU University fees
  • Oversight by a second supervisor & thesis committee
  • Access to all training & support available to postgraduates at the chosen University

An enriched experience

However, because Euan MacDonald Centre students become part of our wide-ranging network, we are able to offer additional experiences and training that include opportunities to:

  • shadow an MND Nurse Specialist, meet people with MND, and attend an MND clinic and/or home visit
  • undertake a short placement with a Euan MacDonald Centre Principal Investigator of a different specialty
  • attend and present at six-monthly seminar afternoons featuring a wide range of Centre research
  • obtain bursaries to present data at national and international MND-related meetings
  • gain experience in public engagement by participating in open days and MND Awareness events.
  • access the Centre’s communications pipeline to promote the student’s research

How to apply

Applications should be made through the EdNeuro.PhD portal.

Potential applicants must contact their supervisor of choice to discuss the project before applying.

The deadline is 5th January 2017.

The interviews will be held in Edinburgh in late January.


Six Principal Investigators have offered PhD projects for Sept 2017 entry. For full project details please search by project title at the EdNeuro.PhD portal.

All applicants should discuss the project with their intended Supervisor before applying for the post.

  1. Dr Leah Herrgen (; 0131 242 9448; based in Edinburgh). Live imaging of injury-induced signalling and immune cell recruitment after spinal cord injury in zebrafish.
  2. Professor Tom Gillingwater (; 0131 650 3724; based in Edinburgh). Developing effective therapies for the childhood motor neurone disease, spinal muscular atrophy.
  3. Professor Simon Parson (; 01224 274328; based in Aberdeen). What role do circulatory disorders play in Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
  4. Dr Paul Skehel (; 0131 651 1961; based in Edinburgh). Characterisation of a new rat model for ALS.
  5. Dr Tara Spires-Jones ( 0131 651 1895; based in Edinburgh). Brain changes in motor neurone disease.
  6. Dr Tom Wishart ( 0131 651 9119; based in Edinburgh) Identifying regulators of synaptic vulnerability and novel therapeutic targets in motor neurone disease.

Clinical Research Training

Young african-american doctor making notes at the medical meetingWe welcome enquiries at any time from ambitious clinicians wishing to undertake a PhD in any aspect of research related to neurodegenerative disease and aligned with one of the Centre’s Principal Investigators.

Although there is no specific Euan MacDonald Centre clinical studentship funding, high-calibre applicants will be supported in an application to a national funding programme such as those from the MRC and Wellcome Trust, or one of the schemes offered by the University of Edinburgh:

Please contact your intended supervisor to discuss opportunities directly.

Masters courses

Masters-trainingThe University of Edinburgh offers many relevant MSc courses that provide a good foundation for later doctoral training. Some are online distance learning. The full list of courses and degrees in Biological, Biomedical and Life Sciences at the University of Edinburgh can be found in the Course and Degree Finder.