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Programme Description

Year 1

CDT taught modulesTaught ModulesMaster the foundations. Core taught modules (1, 2 or 3 weeks in duration) cover foundations in biomedical modelling; biosignals analysis; design of nanoparticles, sensors and systems; imaging and image analysis and experimental/validation methods. Advanced taught modules (2 weeks each) cover each of the 3 research themes (cancer therapeutics and delivery, modelling for personalized healthcare, information-driven healthcare). Commercialization and entrepreneurship including market needs, IP, device approval, etc., is taught in a 1-week module. There are also one-week modules on business skills, research skills and statistical methodology and randomized controlled trials.  These courses are not lecture courses. A variety of teaching methods are used, the choice dependent on course content; directed reading, interactive lectures, problem-solving classes, laboratory-based experimental work; programming practicals; student-led presentations and discussion groups. The goal is to get you to think, participate and learn. Each module is formally assessed by marking of written work (essay or problem-based assignment) but there are no formal examinations.

Core Module Descriptions

Hospital PlacementNothing beats first-hand experience. You will spend two weeks on a hospital placement in the first term of studies. You will “shadow” a consultant or research fellow/registrar, attend clinics and ward rounds, observe surgery/interventions, diagnostic imaging sessions etc, to appreciate the context of clinical research. The two weeks also includes a day on biomedical ethics. Assessment takes the form of submission of a short report and a presentation outlining your experience and what you have learned from it.

Research Placements: A chance to sample a possible PhD and gain research experience in a short space of time. You will undertake a a four-week market assessment exercise involving industry and a twelve-week short project. The twelve-week project, chosen from one of the three CDT themes will, in most cases, form the basis of your PhD (DPhil) research. Projects will be supervised by BME faculty in conjunction with Medical Science departments, university spin-outs and/or international collaborator laboratories. 

Assessment will be via a short written dissertation on both assignments, with oral examination on the project chosen for DPhil research.

Go to Short Research Projects to see examples of previous years topics.

Years 2-4

CDT projectsDoctoral Research Project: Your (one) chance to explore one research problem in great depth. Your doctoral research will normally be based on your short research project, and will be conducted over 3 years. Importantly, the topic must have a clear potential healthcare benefit, and involve a significant translational component i.e. involve a good-sized clinical assessment and/or address issues in commercialization (e.g. involvement in an industry-led FDA clinical trial, development of intellectual property). You will be based in your lead supervisor’s research group  (normally in the IBME). 

International Study Option:  Take your ideas overseas. There is an option of a 3-6 month placement in an overseas laboratory of international standing during your DPhil (normally year 3 of the programme ) which will be offered in open competition (up to three placements per cohort - yes we expect these to be popular....). The BME faculty has a long list of connections with appropriate international laboratories for such a placement programme (incl. Yale, MIT, CalTech, UCSD, INRIA, Berlin, Zurich, Shanghai, and Dalian). 

Elective Taught Modules:  Tailor advanced learning to your needs. There are a growing number of postgraduate taught programmes in Oxford and you will be allowed to select and attend equivalent to a one week module per year (3 weeks total) relevant to your research to supplement your core training in year 1, subject to the approval of your research supervisor and the CDT Director.

Multi-year Activities: A number of activities will be run either as a series through-out the four-year programme, or to encourage the development of a positive group dynamic between year groups.

Transferable Skills Training: This will include critical thinking, presentation skills, and ethics in year 1 and subsequently continued in a planned sequence in years 2-4 including report/thesis/patent/ethics application writing, reviewing, and writing grant proposals. In years 2-4 you will have the opportunity to present a seminar/lecture to CDT students as part of training. You  will also have the opportunity to do a small amount of tutoring subject to approval by their research supervisor.

Expanding Research Horizons: As for all our postgraduate students, we expect CDT students to attend the BME research seminar series that is held throughout the year.  You will also be encouraged to attend seminars organized by non-clinical and clinical departments relevant to your research.

Industry Forum: The Industry Forum will consist of a series of invited lectures related to the healthcare industry which will vary from year-to-year.  As a spin-off from the Industry Forum, we hope to set up a pilot scheme where individuals working in relevant companies and organizations provide mentorship to CDT students.