MRC Doctoral Training Partnership Integrated PhD - AMA!

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Silly_scientist
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MRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) iPhDs are quite different from a "traditional" PhD, so I thought I'd open up a forum for interested applicants to learn more about the programme and how it differs from a more straightforward PhD ☺️
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Silly_scientist)
MRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) iPhDs are quite different from a "traditional" PhD, so I thought I'd open up a forum for interested applicants to learn more about the programme and how it differs from a more straightforward PhD ☺️
How does an iPhD differ from a traditional PhD?

What are the drawbacks?
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document35
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(Original post by Silly_scientist)
MRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) iPhDs are quite different from a "traditional" PhD, so I thought I'd open up a forum for interested applicants to learn more about the programme and how it differs from a more straightforward PhD ☺️
Yes, I'd love to know more about this. What stage does one usually apply for this?
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Silly_scientist
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Wow, hi guys, I'm sorry I never answered your questions, the emails letting me know that I had replies on this forum all got lost in my "promotions" folder!
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Silly_scientist
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
How does an iPhD differ from a traditional PhD?

What are the drawbacks?
I'm so sorry that I'm getting back to you so late, as I mentioned in a reply here earlier all the notifications got lost in my email inbox, I'm ever so sorry and hope this answer will still be useful to you or someone else in the future.

Basically in an iPhD, rather than jump straight into a predefined research project, you have a more training-oriented first year, where you rotate around different research labs in your department whilst undertaking taught modules that aim to teach you important research skills; for example, my programme included modules on bioinformatics/programming, critical analysis of papers and research, as well as statistics and research proposals. I also got to rotate around 3 completely different research labs to get a feel for different supervisors and lab cultures, allowing me to choose the one I felt suited me the most. Another benefit was that I was actually able to pretty much design my own project rather than have one pre-written for me, so I got to have a huge amount of input in the way my PhD project will be structured and what routes to pursue. Another perk is that your thesis writing time is usually covered by your funding period, so unlike in "traditional" PhDs you will still have a source of income while you are writing up. Additionally, you often gain a "free" MRes degree when you complete the first year of your iPhD; whether this is something useful to you depends on if you've already done a master's before I suppose. The one downside I can see is that, because of the way the programme is structured, you spend on average 3 months less than a "traditional" PhD student on your final project, so you may end up having less data to try and publish in papers etc. You can usually get around this by choosing to do multiple rotations in the same lab if you already know what supervisor you want to work with before you start the programme.

Again, I'm sorry that my reply took so long and if you've now done other things, but hopefully this will help someone else in the future at least!
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Silly_scientist
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(Original post by document35)
Yes, I'd love to know more about this. What stage does one usually apply for this?
Based on my own experiences and the level of experience that other members of my cohort have, it's usually expected that you would have at least one year of lab experience under your belt by the time the programme starts - whether you gain it in industry, as a research technician or during an MRes doesn't usually matter too much, as long as you can show it's relevant to the broad topic you're applying for. These programmes tend to be quite competitive though; even though I was completing an MRes in a relevant field and had a few months of relevant industry experience under my belt too, I was initially not even shortlisted for interview for my programme. It was only a few weeks later when they got back to me saying that they found some "unexpected" funding that I was able to attend an interview (and luckily secure a place, I found out on the train ride home after the interview!)

For a more detailed description of the programme, how it works and some advantages and disadvantages, see the reply I wrote to an earlier commenter. But summer up, big advantage is the huge amount of flexibility you get and the emphasis on skills and training, while the downside is that you get around 3 months less time to work on your final project than a "traditional" PhD student would get.

Sorry again for the incredibly late reply, as mentioned previously all my notifications got lost in my inbox until now; and if it's too late to be of benefit to you, I hope it helps someone else at some point!
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document35
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Right I see. For some reason I had assumed that this was also related to medical training. Do you have any medical trainees or the same track/iPhD as you?

And no worries about the timing of response, you don't owe us anything!
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Silly_scientist
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(Original post by document35)
Right I see. For some reason I had assumed that this was also related to medical training. Do you have any medical trainees or the same track/iPhD as you?

And no worries about the timing of response, you don't owe us anything!
I don't have any medics in my cohort specifically, but we do have some clinicians who pursue PhDs after they graduate from their medical degrees and decide they'd like to go into research instead, so it's definitely a possibility.

Hope this helps somewhat!
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document35
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(Original post by Silly_scientist)
I don't have any medics in my cohort specifically, but we do have some clinicians who pursue PhDs after they graduate from their medical degrees and decide they'd like to go into research instead, so it's definitely a possibility.

Hope this helps somewhat!
Yes this is what I had meant, sorry. So as a clinician, one can apply to the iPhD. How1 many years on average does a PhD in your subject take?
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