Astra Zeneca funded Non clinical PhD Studentship (Fixed Term) in `Multimodal AI-guided tools for early prediction of disease progression in neurodegenerative disorders'.

The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres. If you're looking for a new challenge and would like excellent benefits, extensive learning opportunities and a stimulating working environment in return for your skills and contribution, there could be a job here for you.

Applications are invited for 4-year PhD studentship based in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge and the new AstraZeneca Discovery Centre at Cambridge. The student will be working on a collaborative project jointly supervised by Professor Zoe Kourtzi at Department of Psychology Cambridge in collaboration with AstraZeneca's Neuroscience (Dr Keith Tan, Dr Andrew Lowe) and Data Science & AI (Dr Philip Teare, Dr Gayathri Mohankumar) teams and will work have opportunity to work across the two sites. The project, entitled 'Multimodal AI-guided tools for early prediction of disease progression in neurodegenerative disorders' is in the field of AI for Neuroscience that has generated much excitement in both academia and industry.

The project focuses on the development and implementation of AI-guided approaches for early prediction of neurodegenerative disorders. In particular, we aim to develop an innovative data-driven approach that capitalises on state-of-the-art algorithms from artificial intelligence (foundational models) to mine multimodal data from polygenic risk scores, MRI scans, biomarkers and cognitive tasks for early prediction of disease progression. Using this cross-disciplinary approach, we will develop AI-guided tools that predict individualised disease trajectories. We will optimise and validate these tools using large-scale research data and real-world data from clinical trials to assess their efficacy in identifying the right patients for the right treatment.


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual capable of thinking and working independently. Applicants should have or shortly expect to obtain a first or upper second-class degree from a UK university, or an equivalent standard from an overseas university, in a relevant subject such as Maths, Computer Science, Engineering, Neuroscience, Medicine. Experience with machine learning, data science, bioinformatics, clinical data analytics is desirable and background or strong interest in neuroscience and neurodegeneration preferable.

The position is open to UK citizens or overseas students who meet the UK residency requirements (home fees) or are able to augment the funds to cover the extra costs associated with international student fees through scholarships or funding schemes. Full details of the University's entrance requirements and scholarships are specified on the following link:

Funding Full funding covering Maintenance fees at £21,500 per annum and the University Composition Fee is provided for the studentship, with effect from 1 October 2024.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years in the first instance.

Application Process You can find out more about the Department of Psychology at and Please address any questions about this studentship to Professor Zoe Kourtzi at

Applications for this studentship should be made to the Department of Psychology. The course code is BLPC22 (PhD in Psychology).

With your application you will be required to submit (i) a draft research proposal outlining your suitability, why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in this area, your background and research interests. (ii) your CV stating your citizenship and years of residence in the UK (If applicable) (iii) copies of your academic transcripts (iv) details of two academic referees.

Student support and training As a postgraduate student at Cambridge, you will have access to a wide range of training opportunities and benefit from close supervision provided by a primary and secondary PhD supervisor as well as a personal mentor. The collaboration between teams (Kourtzi, AstraZeneca) will provide you with unique cross-disciplinary training in discovery and translational neuroscience, as well as experience in translating research to industry and clinical practice.

During the PhD, there is no taught or examined coursework, but students are encouraged to attend the wide variety of lectures and training courses available to them across the Institute and wider University. This includes a centrally run Statistics course and the University Core Skills Training Programme, which includes sessions on Time Management, Presentation and Performance and Scientific Writing. Students at the Institute will be members of the University's Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) who offer a wide variety of core skills and professional development training. Visit the Researcher Development page on the PSLS website for more information. In addition, the student can also take advantage of training courses and seminars in therapeutic sciences offered by Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences.

All students are expected to attend all internal and external seminars held within the Department of Psychology. Students will also be encouraged to attend and present at the annual AstraZeneca students symposium.

Diversity and Inclusion

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. We place major emphasis on the importance of team work and an enjoyable work environment as a foundation for performing internationally leading research. This will allow the student to acquire cutting edge research methodologies in a supportive environment, where they can focus on making the best possible scientific progress.

The closing date for applications will be Sunday 18 February 2024 at midnight.

Interviews will take place February/March 2024

Please quote reference PJ40357 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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