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School of the Biological Sciences

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A recent survey of all alumni of the Cambridge Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) programmes provides a snapshot of their career trajectories and insights into how the DTP programme helped to launch their careers.


Of the 65 responses, all but one of the previous students are currently in employment, with roughly a third remaining in academic research, a third moving to biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, and the remaining third applying their skills in a variety of science-related professions, such as consulting, medical writing and scientific publishing. The vast majority (92%) agreed that the transferable skills they had acquired in the doctoral training programmes were useful to them now, while a slightly lower proportion (85%) have continued to use the technical skills they acquired.

A very encouraging finding was that 49% of responses mentioned the Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) scheme as being the part of the programme that had the strongest impact on their career choices, allowing them to make informed decisions, providing transferable skills for later use in their jobs and making them more desirable to employers. Notably, this included many who are still in academia as well as those who have moved into other sectors.

The results show the strengths of the programme in not only providing excellent research projects in our world-leading research laboratories, but also in offering outstanding opportunities for training and work experience in diverse professional environments.

We aim to stay actively engaged with our alumni as part of our growing community of doctoral training partnership graduates.  We look forward to interesting and engaging interactions with them through events such as our Annual Symposia, and also through the Professional Internships for PhD Students scheme where a number of alumni have already taken part in careers panels and some have even offered placements to the next generation of students.

Prof Chris Smith, Programme Director, said: “The whole DTP team were highly gratified by the results of this survey, which show how well the DTP programme equips its students for future employment in various parts of the thriving bio-economy. Being able to show the variety of exciting career options available to PhD graduates will help our mission to recruit talented students from diverse backgrounds.”


About the Cambridge Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership

The Cambridge Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is a partnership between four internationally leading research organisations — the University of Cambridge, the Babraham Institute, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, and the Wellcome Sanger Institute — and UKRI BBSRC to develop the next generation of bioscience talent.

The Life Sciences are key to addressing many of the current societal and global challenges, and PhD-trained bioscientists are needed to meet the demands of the thriving and expanding bioeconomy. Our DTP addresses this need by providing a welcoming and vibrant training environment in which talented and motivated students from diverse backgrounds undertake cutting edge research projects and become equipped for a range of careers in academia, industry, government and charitable sectors.

Our students benefit from our location at the heart of Europe’s largest cluster of bioscience companies and enjoy opportunities to interact with a range of external organisations. Our DTP, via internships and iCASE studentships, also provides a convenient entry point for external organisations to forge collaboration with researchers across our partnership. Find out more: Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme