PhD opportunities in Cardiovascular Imaging

MRI Cardio Imaging 1200x600

PhD opportunities for non-clinicians and students

The Department of Biomedical Imaging Science embedded in The Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM) is a world-class imaging department offering large and well-equipped research/clinical facilities to conduct major translational research.

The preclinical facilities (experimental and Preclinical Imaging Centre, ePIC) offer high-field MRI, optical imaging, CT and PET/SPECT/CT; the clinical MRI research facilities include 1.5 T and 3 T MRI scanners and a new National Centre for Hyperpolarised MRI (Advanced Imaging centre, AIC) 

The programme aims to teach young researchers to apply imaging tools of clinical investigation to test hypotheses about human pathophysiology in vivo.


The CMR imaging PhD programme aims to foster the best future leaders in translational imaging research. The team of internationally recognised experts in MRI from preclinical to clinical science in a high-end environment with cutting edge imaging techniques will allow students/fellows to develop. 

Thanks to the multidisciplinary nature of the department of imaging science, students/fellows will be encouraged to engage with other disciplines including computing, engineering, mathematics to develop personalised imaging biomarkers.

Start date

  • Unspecified (throughout the year)

Entry requirements

Applications are welcome from individuals with or expecting to obtain, at least 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent qualification, in a subject relevant to your proposed field of research.  
  • British Council IELTS of score 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in other skill areas (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). This qualification must be less than 2 years old at the start of the degree course
  • Degree in a related subject
  • Masters preferable, but not essential

Programme structure

Over the course of the programme, fellows will benefit from a dedicated support system including administrative support, research support (including dedicated research nurses), a physics team for troubleshooting, Siemens and Philips dedicated scientists for scanner troubleshooting and senior clinical expertise.

The Fellow will benefit from a robust mentoring system and senior supervision in every step of the way with weekly meetings.

The fellowship programme will include:

Year 1

  • Project set up in the first 6 months the students will set up the logistics of their project, learn the basics of good clinical practice; by the end of the 6 months, a research plan will be finalised. Students will establish a professional relationship with collaborators on the project and plan the next stages of sequence development, preclinical experiments and patients recruitment.
  • Educational training: Covering weekly sessions on MRI physics, basics principles of pulse sequence design, scanner interfaces, and protocol optimization.
  • Imaging seminars: Trainees will participate in 3 monthly medical imaging seminars. Imaging seminars bring together researchers across the University and National Health Service who share a common interest in medical imaging. Each seminar consists of one or two talks by local or invited international experts, presenting recent research for a mixed audience. Attendance to the activities and learning opportunities listing above is compulsory. 
  • Practical: Covering hands-on MRI practice on console. Practice will include a period of training followed by independent scanning.
  • Clinical: Students will participate in clinical activities on a weekly basis and assist during scanning and reporting of CMR scans. Fellows will also be expected to actively participate in biweekly case review sessions with senior internationally recognised CMR clinician-scientist.

The MRI department performs a high volume of scans (please check how many as per “about us section” on the clinical imaging fellowship page/year) exceeding requirements for level 3 accreditation. For the purpose of CMR accreditation, fellows will have the opportunity to create a logbook with the scans they will report. Opportunities for clinical:

  • Research: Fellows will be expected to familiarise with research tools /software needed for their research analyses to be ready to analyse data collected from their project as soon as available. As part of a research team, students will be involved in a broad spectrum of collaborative activities with other fellows from the beginning. Such a friendly, collaborative and stimulating environment will provide them with opportunities to engage with several research projects, to learn how to overcome practical challenges and to contribute.

Students will meet with their supervisors on a weekly basis to discuss solutions to possible difficulties, to get support and mentorship.

Year 2 and 3

Students will be fully familiar with the environment and will have their project well established by year 2. They will focus exclusively on their PhD project with ongoing training as required (educational training including imaging seminaries) Students will be encouraged to periodically present their work and progress internally to the group for scientific discussion. By the end of year 2 fellows will have to prepare a “transfer”.

  • Publications: Fellows will be encouraged to produce abstract to present at scientific meetings both nationally and internationally. 
  • Practical: Students will be fully independent in scanning research patients for their projects. Their practical contribution/scanning to the clinical service will also be welcome.
  • Clinical: Students will report CMR scans on a weekly basis. Presentation of clinical cases at MDT imaging meetings will be encouraged. Fellows will also have the opportunity to create a logbook of scans for their CMR accreditations.

Year 4

During this year students will finalise their research and commence the writing up of your thesis, ready for submission.

Research projects

The programme provides opportunities in experimental medicine, development and evaluation of novel MRI techniques, imaging biomarker development and stratified medicine in cardiovascular medicine.

Successful recruits to the programme will have the opportunity to match a project suitable to their medical career goals, to be undertaken during a three to four year PhD.

List of projects

How to apply for a PhD or MD (Res) within the Department

There are several ways to apply for a PhD. Choose from the options below for further application information specific to each pathway. The first step is to identify and contact a supervisor and define a research project. Selected potential students/fellows will be invited to visit the department and meet with potential colleagues and supervisors.

Full-time students (Students funded through Research Council, Industry or Charity studentships, or those who are self-funding)

The Department in Biomedical Sciences is interested in hearing from potential applicants to this scheme. If you are thinking of applying please contact: 

Erica DallArmellina

Tuition fees, research consumables and salary will all be funded by the scheme.

For further details on postgraduate study at the University of Leeds find further details on the Faculty of Medicine and Health Graduate School

Useful links for applicants 

British Heart Foundation - information for researchers

MRC - funding information 

Wellcome Trust - funding information

Further Fellowships Scheme

BHF 4 years PhD programme

This programme is specifically for projects with a research interest in basic preclinical science. Tuition fees, research consumables and salary will all be funded by the scheme.

International PhD Academy in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease

This programme is particularly suitable for international students with their own available funding who have minimal research experience. It is focused on bespoke, personalised training and support.