TRAM Musculoskeletal Research Programme
The TRAM MB-PhD scheme is funded by the Kennedy Trust and has been established to Train and Retain Academic Musculoskeletal clinicians and offers an exciting opportunity for motivated and enthusiastic medical students to gain top quality research training during their medical degree. The scheme is shared between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and offers students the opportunity to undertake a PhD in an area relevant to musculoskeletal disease, typically after completion of their intercalated BSc. The vision of TRAM is to train a future generation of clinical academic leaders in the field of musculoskeletal disease.
See below for details of how to apply
Despite the high prevalence and clinical burden, there is relatively low exposure to rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in early medical student training compared to other clinical disciplines. Did you know:
18.8 MILLION PEOPLE
were affected by musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and back pain across the UK in 2017
22% ILL HEALTH BURDEN
of total morbidity in the UK is caused by musculoskeletal conditions with back and neck pain being the biggest across all ages
3RD OF CONSULTATIONS
in general practices across the UK has been estimated to be regarding musculoskeletal diseases
Research has led to significant advances in some areas, most notably the development of targeted therapies for inflammatory diseases. Despite this, there remains significant unmet clinical need in the understanding and management of people with musculoskeletal diseases, with limited treatment options for many conditions. The TRAM MB-PhD scheme enables 3rd-year MB-ChB students to undertake PhD training into rheumatic and related musculoskeletal, immunological and inflammatory diseases. This innovative programme will support a new generation of clinician-scientists to improve outcomes for people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
TRAM will provide exciting and fulfilling opportunities for bright and enthusiastic medical students to undertake a high-quality PhD in an area relevant to musculoskeletal disease with supervision by active and experienced researchers in this field, including as part of centres of excellence. Successful applicants will be trained in cutting edge practical scientific and analytic skills with a focus on scientific excellence, while gaining understanding of the rigour, discipline and precision required for translational research. It is expected that the research projects will generate material that will form the basis of publications in high profile medical and scientific journals. The scheme will encourage and enable graduates to pursue an academic career within the area of musculoskeletal and related diseases in future.
The TRAM MB-PhD scheme enables third-year MB-ChB students to enter a three-year PhD training at the end of their intercalated year before re-integration into the MB-ChB course (see schematic below).
Close mentorship by TRAM leaders will be a feature of the programme, right from the PhD selection process, through the PhD project, to MBChB course completion and beyond in the postgraduate phase, to maximise the chance of sustained academic career success. The PhD programmes will be undertaken within research centres and institutes associated with College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences in Glasgow or the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh.
The scheme will offer students the possibility of undertaking collaborative projects involving supervisors from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as offering students the opportunity to participate in scientific meetings and other activities organised by students, academic staff and supervisors based in from both cities. Additionally, students will have the opportunity of networking with students from other Kennedy Trust funded UK centres in Birmingham, Manchester, and Oxford.
It is planned that there will be four studentships per annum over five years, to be allocated as two studentships per partner University per annum. The scheme will adhere to the Wellcome Trust stipend and fee rates, with costs included for consumables and travel expenses.
TRAM will bring a pool of around 50 principal investigators with expertise of thematic relevance, and competitiveness in the field of musculoskeletal diseases, to offer wide-ranging exciting and challenging thematic content for students. In addition, areas of overlapping interest between research in cancer and musculoskeletal disease will be exploited in the disciplines of cellular and molecular biology, genomic medicine, regenerative biology, data science and inflammation biology so as to create additional innovative interdisciplinary project options deriving from the availability of such a large and diverse supervisorial pool. TRAM supervisory teams may be assembled from both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities where this is advantageous to the success of the PhD project. TRAM PhD students will be mentored by their supervisors and other staff of the MB-PhD scheme, right from the PhD selection process, through the PhD project, to MB-ChB course completion and beyond into the postgraduate phase to maximise the chance of sustaining a successful academic career.
TRAM offers a broad range of projects relevant to the study of musculoskeletal diseases, including basic science, experimental medicine, epidemiological, translational and clinical studies. Successful candidates will be supported to find the most suitable project and supervisor team for their needs and interests.
Available projects will vary from year to year, with some representative examples that are on offer available to view at the link below.
The TRAM MB-PhD programme will be available to students who are currently undertaking an intercalated medical degree (BSc(MedSci)/B(MedSci)) at the Universities of Glasgow or Edinburgh. External candidates can be considered only in exceptional circumstances and should consult with the programme administrator before applying.
How to apply
The first entries to the scheme will be in 2022. Anticipated dates are shown below:
Application opening date: January 2022
MB-PhD Application closing date: 21 March 2022
Expected date of interviews (virtual): 14 April 2022
Successful applicants notified: April 2022
Start of (optional) summer mini-projects: June 2022
Start of the PhD project: September 2022
To apply for an MB PhD position, please submit your completed TRAM Glasgow application form to firstname.lastname@example.org before the application deadline.