Two researchers in a lab looking at some data

PhD scheme

PhD scheme

Information about our PhD scheme, how to apply, and details of our current students.

Supporting postgraduates is a key part of the Euan MacDonald Centre’s mission. We are passionate about encouraging, training and equipping the MND researchers of the future.

The Centre has an active community of postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers who benefit from sharing knowledge with other MND researchers and people living with MND by attending Centre events and MND-related conferences.

Euan MacDonald Centre funded PhDs

Through the generosity of our donors and fundraisers, the Centre normally funds one or two non-clinical PhD studentship per year.

Applications for Centre-funded PhDs normally open in the Autumn of each year for programmes starting the following September.

A range of projects is offered by Centre Principal Investigators, based at a University in Scotland. Project choices usually include basic (laboratory), clinical and social science.

The best student is chosen on the basis of application, interview and references, and then chooses the project he or she is most interested in.

What does the studentship include?

  • RCUK stipend for three years
  • UK/EU University fees
  • travel and consumables
  • oversight by a second supervisor and thesis committee
  • access to all training and support available to postgraduates at the chosen University

An enriched experience

Because Euan MacDonald Centre funded 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
  • 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


Projects available for 2022 entry

1st supervisor Location Project title
Tom Gillingwater Edinburgh

Modelling and developing treatments for UBA1-dependent spinal muscular atrophy

Thimo Kurz Glasgow

Understanding the structural and molecular basis of UBQLN2-linked motor neuron disease

Gareth Miles St Andrews

Tripartite synapses – a weak link in MND?

Lyndsay Murray Edinburgh

Motor unit recovery following Smn restoration in mouse models of SMA

Chris Sibley Edinburgh Early TDP-43 aggregation events correlated to clinical and cellular phenotypes in ALS

How to apply and deadlines

The application deadline is 17:00 GMT on Weds 5th January 2022.

Please apply via the Edinburgh Neuroscience PhD portal (follow link to project title in above table).

Please take careful note of the eligibility guidelines in the individual project descriptions, as they vary between projects.


Example alumni destinations

Studentship dates
Destination upon completion
Hannah Shorrock 2014-2017 postdoc on SCA8 at Centre for NeuroGenetics, University of Florida
Chris Crockford 2014-2017 Management/research support in the third sector
Natalie Courtney 2015-2018 postdoc on presynaptic dysfunction in Huntington's disease, University of Edinburgh

Current PhD students