The Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield are joining together to establish a new clinical PhD programme called the 4ward North Clinical PhD Academy.
The four universities in the north of England have received £5 million in funding from Wellcome over the next five years and will collaborate with the Francis Crick Institute in the PhD programme. The Academy will award and oversee 25 fellowships for the UK's best early-career clinicians to undertake a biomedical research PhD.
The partnership demonstrates the Crick's strategic goal of engaging with research-intensive universities throughout the UK. The Academy will benefit from being able to draw upon the Crick's staff for mentorship, advice and placements during the course of the programme.
Upon completion of the PhD programme some of the clinician-researchers will have the opportunity to undertake a one year "follow-on" postdoctoral programme at the Crick, in order to help bridge the gap between a PhD and a postdoctoral position.
Sir Keith Peters, who helped establish the collaboration with the Francis Crick Institute, said: "As the Francis Crick Institute opens its doors at its new campus, it is wonderful to join up with this exciting research opportunity in northern England. Inspiring the next generation of clinicians to undertake research in the best settings is critical and it is a pleasure to be part of the Wellcome Trust 4ward North Clinical PhD Academy."
Professor Paul Stewart, Dean of Medicine & Health at the University of Leeds and Chair of the overarching 4ward North board, said: "This is a tangible example of the national outreach of the Francis Crick Institute - its partnership with the academic excellence of the N4 consortium will deliver a stepwise change in training tomorrow's clinical researchers."
Professor Neil Hanley, Chair of Medicine at The University of Manchester, who led the bid with colleagues from Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, said: "This was a great team effort over two years. The competition was tough and to have won the warm backing of the Wellcome Trust and collaboration of the Francis Crick Institute for our plans really illustrates that by working together we can improve our clinical academic training and research opportunities for the brightest trainees."