About us - EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Physical Sciences for Health

The University of Birmingham Physical Sciences for Health (Sci-Phy) Centre focuses on research at the interface between chemical, physical, biomedical, engineering and computer science. The programme will train a new generation of scientists as interdisciplinary researchers with a broad skill-base who will be at the forefront of developing physical science to contribute to breakthroughs in biomedical sciences and healthcare. Students will apply their skills to address three key UK healthcare challenges:

  • Cardiovascular disease - the major killer of over 65’s in the UK
  • Ageing, a UK healthcare grand challenge
  • Trauma -the major killer of under 40s in the UK and over 65’s 

Collaborations with 18 industrial companies, several national research institutes and a leading NHS acute Hospital are embedded in the programme to ensure developments have immediate impact on patients.

Foundation of cross-disciplinary training

In the first year students follow a training programme that provides the necessary theoretical foundations, laboratory and practical skills for cross-disciplinary research at the Biomedical Interface. Six tailor-made taught modules and two mini-projects are combined with training in communication skills, public understanding of science and knowledge transfer. This training is an integral part of the PhD programme and is key preparation for the PhD thesis project. Students additionally receive an MSc for the year 1 studies. Detailed information on the course can be found in the Training pages.

Three-year PhD research project 

On successful completion of year 1 the students engage in their individual PhD thesis research projects. Each project involves three elements: physical science and computer science applied to a biomedical challenge. Each project has three supervisors, a physical scientist, a computer scientist and a biomedic, one for each of the three areas. One supervisor is the lead supervisor. The CDT provides both study and pastoral support, through dedicated staff and the peer network. The research and team coherence, actively developed in year one through a variety of group activities, continue to be nurtured in the subsequent years through regular pairings, seminars and other Centre-wide activities.

Integration between disciplines

The focus of Physical Sciences for Health training is on equipping early stage researchers to be interdisciplinary scientists focused on addressing key health challenges. The training programme offers a real integration between the disciplines within the various individual research projects. The complementary research perspectives and skills brought by the participating academics uniquely enable training to tackle challenging problems that could not otherwise be satisfactorily addressed and resolved. In this way the research and training are at the cutting-edge, leading to understanding and insights not accessible within a single scientific discipline.

Training environment

Central to our philosophy is the provision of a training environment which supports team work and the development of long-lasting personal networks and professional contacts that will persist throughout the students’ future research careers. Typical activities include:  


EPSRC Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences (PSIBS) Training Programme.

The Sci-Phy programme follows on from the EPSRC Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences (PSIBS) Training Programme.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences (PSIBS) was set up through a prestigious EPSRC award to facilitate the training of high-quality engineering and physical sciences graduate students in a multi-disciplinary environment at the Life Sciences Interface. The focus of PSIBS research was specifically on the development of imaging techniques and the computational analysis of image data to enable and support future breakthroughs in biology and biomedicine. The Sci-Phy programme builds on the networks and expertise developed through PSIBS to apply similar physical science approaches to biomedical problems within the Sci-Phy research themes.

Please note this programme is no longer accepting new entrants.