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Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI)

About the Programme

Realising the potential of AI in drug discovery requires interdisciplinary researchers who have both a deep knowledge of basic biological principles and an understanding of advanced AI methodologies. Recognising that such people are scarce, Exscientia, MSD, Heptares and Queen Mary University of London have joined forces to train the next generation of AI Drug Discovery researchers. Together, with financial support from UKRI-BBSRC, we are providing a total of 21 PhD UK-based studentships.

What We Offer
The AI for Drug Discovery Programme has 21 fully-funded studentship to offer over 3 cohorts of students. The studentship covers a stipend at the UKRI rate (currently £19,668), Home Tuition fees, and a budget for consumables/research related expenses. Awards are 4 years in duration (pro-rata for part-time students), and each will have a level of engagement with Industry, including the opportunity to undertake a placement of at least 3 months in duration.

What is special about this doctoral programme?
Traditionally, PhD training involves developing a research project within a defined discipline or specialty area, working exclusively at an academic institution. What makes our AI for Drug Discovery (AIDD) doctoral training programme special is that students become part of our AIDD community, working at the interface of academia and industry. Novel features of our programme include:

Interdisciplinary focus
All our projects are multidisciplinary, combining AI and bioscience. The programme will create in-demand PhD graduates skilled in latest AI technologies but also deep understanding of the bioscience behind drug discovery. 

Industry relevance
Unlike traditional PhD projects ours are designed jointly by industry-based researchers and academics from QMUL, and company-led projects have engagement from both industry and academia, with an optional company placement.

Embracing diversity
There is a growing awareness that more diversity in pharmatech and AI is needed. This includes women, black and minority ethnic scientists who are historically underrepresented in life sciences and computing. The programme will help grow diversity in the sector by embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of the programme through recruitment and progression monitoring, mitigating unconscious bias and supporting career progression through flexible working patterns.

Applications
Go to Apply to start your application and visit our Projects page to explore the projects currently available.

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