PhD Studentships

Applications are now open for two PhD Studentships for 2024. Their purpose is to support promising young researchers to undertake a project that tackles a key issue in MND. We are partnering with the Anatomical Society to jointly fund one of these studentships, which will highlight the role of anatomical science in improving our understanding of MND. The other studentship will be funded entirely by MND Scotland.

About the awards

MND Scotland are offering two PhD studentships to start in 2024 – one funded by MND Scotland and one jointly funded by MND Scotland and the Anatomical Society.

MND is a progressive, life-shortening illness, which arises from the death of motor neurons. The subsequent weakening of muscles leads to a loss of ability to walk, talk, eat and, eventually, breathe.

In the UK, 1 in 300 people will die from MND and there is currently no cure or disease modifying treatment available. Average life expectancy following diagnosis is just 18 months.

MND Scotland is committed to ‘making time count’ for people affected by MND and one of our core strategic goals is to fund innovative research in the search for new treatments.

MND Scotland PhD Studentships are designed to build a strong research base in motor neuron disease by supporting promising young researchers to undertake a project that tackles a key issue in MND.

Applications are welcome from all areas of adult MND research – including (but not limited to) laboratory-based, translational science, social science, engineering, machine learning, and data-based science.

Your research question should address an aspect of MND that will either:

  • Progress the search for an effective treatment e.g. understanding disease mechanism/target identification/biomarker development/diagnostic development/translation into treatment etc
  • Address an unmet need for the community affected by MND (including carers)
  • Improve standards of care for people with MND.


In the MND Scotland 2022-2024 research strategy we outline how we will strive to make time count for people affected by MND through innovative research. In this funding call we, therefore, particularly welcome applications that align with this strategy, including those that enable collaborative use of MND datasets, biorepositories and biobanks, or address issues raised by people affected by MND in our ‘What Matters in MND’ survey.

The Anatomical Society aims to promote, develop and advance research in all aspects of the anatomical sciences. The joint MND Scotland and Anatomical Society PhD studentship aims to raise awareness of the importance of research into motor neuron disease (MND) and the role of anatomical science in improving our understanding of MND.

All projects that contain a substantial element of anatomical sciences approaches, for instance morphology, histology, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation, advanced microscopy and in vivo imaging, will be considered for joint funding with the Anatomical Society.

Applications should be submitted by the supervisor, not the student.


Application deadline

The deadline for this funding call is 11:59 pm on 31 October 2023.

online peer support

What do I need to know?

MND Scotland PhD Studentships are usually awarded annually and funding is available for projects up to three years in duration. We are offering up to two studentships for 2024.

Funding of up to £100,000 (over three years) is available for each PhD Studentship in this call.

Eligible costs:

  • PhD tuition fees (home rate),
  • UKRI level student stipend (plus up to £2,000 pa London weighting),
  • Justified consumables and relevant travel up to £5,000 pa


For the jointly funded MND Scotland Anatomical Society PhD Studentship, the Anatomical Society will additionally provide:

  • Open access publication fees for one article published in the Society journals (Journal of Anatomy and Aging Cell).
  • Attendance at 3 Anatomical Society meetings over the course of the PhD, for the student


Please note: The MND Scotland-only funded studentship does not come with the Anatomical Society-offered additional benefits.

  • Applications should be submitted by the supervisor, not the student.
  • The primary applicant should be a researcher based at a recognised University in the UK or, for the Anatomical Society joint funded studentship only, the Republic of Ireland
  • The primary applicant should have an employment contract that exceeds the duration of the studentship.
  • The PhD student recruited must have a minimum of a 2ii degree in a relevant subject.
  • We can accept applications from a clinical source but any costs above the agreed threshold will need to be met elsewhere.
  • The student does not need to be named on the application and can be recruited post-award.


All applications (for both the Joint MND Scotland-Anatomical Society Studentship and the MND Scotland-only Studentship) will be submitted via the MND Scotland online application portal.

The same application form will be used for both Studentships but there will be an additional box asking whether the applicant feels their application is particularly suited to the jointly funded award with the Anatomical Society. If you wish to be considered for both studentships, you do not need to submit 2 applications – we will automatically consider all applications as potentially eligible for either studentship.

If your research proposal requires input from people affected by MND, your application must be accompanied by a completed ‘Involving People in Research’ form. This will allow us to assess what support and assistance MND Scotland can provide for you. Should your research project be funded you will automatically be given the assistance you require.

If you would like to discuss your application in advance of submission, you can send an email to

More for researchers

Find out more about MND Scotland's research policies, other funding schemes, FAQs and latest research news here.

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