Medicine: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES): Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Hormone-Immune Signalling in Parkinson’s Dementia (RS571)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 3 April 2024 (23:59 GMT)
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 3 April 2024 (23:59 GMT)

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Hormone-immune signalling in Parkinson’s dementia – towards a potential therapy

Funding provider: Swansea University

Subject areas: Medicine, Neuroscience, Dementia

Project start date:

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Medical Neuroscience

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description:

Swansea University is pleased to offer fully-funded Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES) for full-time doctoral students to its fifth cohort, commencing in October 2024.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, effecting 10 million people worldwide. PD is characterised by motor and non-motor impairments – with >70% progressing to dementia at an accelerated rate. Existing treatments for the motor impairments work in ~50% of those affected and do not address the underlying pathology, while there is no effective treatment for dementia. A therapy that slows dementia progression would have unprecedented impact on the health and social care sectors.

The primary aim of this project is to develop a drug that prevents harmful brain inflammation and supports brain plasticity to treat PD dementia.

This research builds on Dr Davies’ lab findings at Swansea University Medical School (SUMS) that used in silico tools, in collaboration with Dr Mullins (SUMS), to identify novel small-molecule compounds that modulate ghrelin bioavailability. The scholar will determine whether enzyme targeting small molecules modify acyl-ghrelin signalling both in neuronal cell culture systems and human T-lymphocytes relevant to PD dementia.

This project, supported by MRC Development Pathway Gap Funding and in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Institute (ARUK DDI) at University College London (UCL), will accelerate the development of new compounds. The SURES student will join Dr Davies’ lab, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team encompassing nerve cell function (Dr Davies), inflammation (Dr Jones, SUMS), in silico drug design (Dr Mullins) and medicinal chemistry expertise (Professor Ducotterd, ARUK DDI, UCL), to develop new treatments for PD dementia where there is significant un-met need.

The scholar will also work alongside colleagues to develop a companion diagnostic mass-spectrometry-based blood test to facilitate drug efficacy monitoring. The SURES student will determine whether our recently developed Bead Assisted Mass Spectrometry (BAMS) test, working in collaboration with Dr Angelini (SUMS), represents an accurate diagnostic tool to monitor ghrelin bioavailability.

This project is aligned with two of the newly established Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science Research Institutes, namely, Healthy Ageing & Chronic Conditions and Advanced Diagnostic and Medical Technologies. The SURES student will work closely with collaborative teams and with FMHLS Institutes to maximise the impact of our research to the University and to the wider society.

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have attained, or must be expected to attain, a first-class honours degree and/or a distinction at master’s level. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

  • Where applicants have multiple master’s degrees, a distinction must be held in the degree that is most relevant to the intended PhD study.
  • If you are currently studying for a master’s level qualification with an expected award date that is later than 01/10/2024, you should hold a minimum of an upper-second-class (2:1) honours degree.
  • You should be able to demonstrate a pass with a minimum grade average of at least 70% for your part-one master’s degree modules (the taught aspect of your master’s course rather than a research-focused dissertation) and submit your dissertation by no later than 30/09/2024.

Applicants must be able to begin their course of study in October 2024. As a cohort-based programme, deferral to an alternative enrolment window within the academic year or to another academic year is not permissible.

Please note that both the degree and language-proficiency entry requirements for SURES are higher than the baseline standard for entry that is stipulated for most of the PhD programmes at Swansea University. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in.


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend at £19,237.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

1. Course choice – please select Medical Neuroscience / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October

In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

2. Start year – please select 2024
3. Funding (page 8) –

  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS571 – SURES 7

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University:

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Jeff Davies (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

Who is eligible to apply?

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations. 

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