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At the start of the year new students have an extensive three-week induction programme that features events at all of the consortium institutions and allowing opportunities to explore their facilities, hear presentations on available projects and to meet potential supervisors. Students also have a number of inter and intra cohort team building and social activities to welcome them to the programme.

In the first year each student undertakes two 4-month rotation projects (October-January, February-May). During the rotation year a student will get to experience two different LIDo consortium partners.

All rotation projects represent a clearly defined and significant fraction of the work proposed for an entire PhD project. As a result, a rotation project is an authentic sample of the work expected for the PhD. Consequently our students can reassure themselves of the scientific merit of the project, the quality of the research environment, available resources, the strengths of the supervisory team and their own capacity to pursue the investigation.

At the end of each rotation students produce a 5000-word report and present their work via poster or oral presentation to their supervisors and peers at a mini-symposium. These presentation days also serve as a popular inter-cohort social event.

The majority of our students select a PhD project associated with one of their two rotation projects, although this is not a requirement. LIDo students join their PhD lab for the remainder of the first year following their second rotation.

Friday afternoons in the first year are dedicated to the SysMIC course, a high quality eLearning program that delivers training in fundamental and advanced mathematical, computational and statistical techniques for interdisciplinary and systems biology researchers.

Importantly, because many of the course developers are part of the programme, a faster- paced and enriched version of the course has been developed for our DTP students. Additional face-to-face sessions allow for demonstration, collective study, interaction and discussion with the creators of the course. Over 6 months, students move through the SysMIC Basic Skills Module 1 onto Advanced topics and applications Module 2. A third optional module, based on project work investigating a specific biological problem, opens to students when they progress to their PhD projects and can be tailored to specifically support their research projects.

In addition to SysMIC training students will choose between two further training courses.

The first course option, entitled Principles of Biology (PoB), aims to further our students understanding of biological systems. PoB features a wide sweep of topics in modern biosciences and aims to expand the horizons and interests on graduate life scientists or provide a biological foundation for students with previous experience in other disciplines.

The second course option, entitled Bio-Industry explores the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries via a learning and teaching focus on the selected literature: an industry expert speaker will also attend each session to discuss their views on particular aspects of these industries. The masterclasses feature topics such as industry history and trends, structure and business models, alliance/collaboration and risk, regulation and ethics, public perception and communications. Networking with the guest speakers, and tips on accessing industrial careers are also a feature of this course module.

Each year a week of cross research council remit teaching cushions the two rotations providing students not only the opportunity to hear from academic, industry, government and not-for-profit speakers on a range of topics in the boundaries of BBSRC remit, but also affording the occasion to network with students on our sister DTP programmes as the invitation to attend is shared widely across London’s postgraduate research community.

From Year 2 of the programme students are dedicated to their PhD projects.

Click here to explore the projects of current and past students on the programme.

The extraordinary LIDo teaching and research-intensive environment sits within a framework of robust and established cohort building activities, culminating each year in an academic retreat for the students. This popular residential event is designed and planned by the students, for the students. The retreat allows students to present talks on their research, enjoy additional skills training, discuss career information and share updates on cutting-edge research and technical developments.

The BBSRC mandate that all students funded in this programme take part in the Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) scheme. This involves a three-month work experience placement that can be undertaken with any organisation in the public or privates sectors in the UK or abroad according to student interest and a suitable agreement with the host. The only stipulation is that the work must be in an area demonstrably unrelated to the student's research project. The timing of the internships has a degree of flexibility, taking place during the second or third year of the PhD, (months 18 to 36). This is considered to be the most beneficial time. Further details on PIPS programme including case studies and video reports can be found on the Employability page and the UCL Careers webpage.

2012 cohort LIDo student Michelle Reeve worked at the Royal Institution on the prestigious Christmas Lectures 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson)

A selection of our PIPS case studies can be seen on our Employability Pages

Industrial collaborative (iCASE) students begin working on their named project from the start of the course. These highly vetted and approved projects represent genuine partnerships between academics within the LIDo consortium and industrial colleagues, allowing students to experience both distinctive environments in a mutually productive and supportive team.

As part of the programme iCASE students will undertake an extended placement with their non-academic partner. The placement will be at least 3 months but could be extended to a maximum of 18 months. In addition to the inestimable experience of an industrial research environment, the student will also receive business-related training.

Click here to see details of the iCASE collaborative projects already underway within the consortium. If you are interested in applying for an iCASE position, details can be found under Apply.

Student Case Studies

Mr Rafat Chowdhury, UCL Centre for Medical Imaging Punwani Lab. Undertaking a collaborative project with Gold Standard Phantoms Limited