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Q. What is the purpose of these studentships?

The purpose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) and University of Cambridge (UoC) Framework agreement is the mutual advancement of science by promoting investment in people and in training high quality students in various disciplines and generating high quality collaborations.

Q. What research is eligible for funding?

The AZ funded non clinical PhD studentship framework agreement covers pre-clinical research but excludes studentships relating to clinical studies or trials (clinical studies or trials means research involving patients or healthy volunteers recruited for a Research Project). If you are interested in clinical PhD studentships funded by AZ, please contact Nicola White.

Q. Which PIs are eligible to submit studentship proposals?

The agreement will support PhD studentships within all departments and units established as the date of signature of the Agreement at the University in the following schools:

For further details on the eligibility criteria, please refer to the guidance document.

Q. What if you want to submit a proposal but do not have an AZ/UoC supervisor to submit a joint proposal?

Individual investigators should identify an AZ/UoC partner before submitting their project. The programme management team can assist with the identification of a suitable partner, please fill out this online form to identify a partner before 24th May 2024.

The University of Cambridge Principal Investigator will be the lead investigator for this studentship should it be awarded. Support for the proposal will be required from the relevant University of Cambridge Head of Department prior to submission.

Q. Why are PIs limited to one submission?

With a limited number of studentships to fund each year and with the aim of delivering high quality collaborations across the university we believe it is important to limit the number of submissions per PI. This will encourage the development and submission of strong, collaborative projects which align with the defined research interests and lead to exciting new, high quality collaborations.

Q. Why will priority be given to submission from PIs who have not previously received AZ funded studentships?

With a limited number of studentships to fund each year and with the aim of delivering high quality collaborations across the university we believe it is important to prioritise studentships with PIs who have not previously received funding in the previous year, i.e. 2024 . This should encourage the development of new collaborations across the University and AstraZeneca to strengthen our relationship.

Q. What funding is available?

The funding provided will cover the following costs

  • Generous student stipend - starting at £21500 in the first year
  • Combined university fees – at current rate and UK/Home fee level only
  • Consumables budget – total of £33k over the course of the project
  • Travel and subsistence (T&S)  - total of £5k over the course of the project

Q. Why are only UK/home fees covered?

The amount of funding available is capped each year, due to the additional costs associated with international student fees  this would have meant a reduction in the number of studentships that could be supported annually. To maximise the number of studentships it was decided between both parties to restrict the funding to cover UK/home fees levels only.

Q. Can international students be hired?

Yes. AstraZeneca encourages the recruitment of the best candidates for the positions and wants to see diversity in the recruitment. However funding is capped at the UK/Home fee level and additional funding required for the recruitment of international students will have to be met by the University department or via other sources, excluding self-funding.

Q. Are self-funded students accepted?

No. AstraZeneca strongly discourages self-funding. Due to the increased costs this will impact on accessibility for these studentships. Any additional funding requirements for international students should be met by the university department or via other sources (e.g. Cambridge Trust). Further information on how to source funding can be found on University post graduate study website.

We strongly advise that the student recruitment is completed on time to benefit from the available funding opportunities. International funding is highly competitive and hence we strongly recommend PI’s to consider a back up home/UK candidate, in case the overseas student is unsuccessful in receiving the overseas funding. It will remain the PI's responsibility to ensure the project commences on time.

Q. Why are AstraZeneca involved with the selection and recruitment of students?

The projects must include genuine collaboration with AZ, starting from the promotion of the project, the student recruitment process, and all the way to its completion. It is expected that both AZ and UoC's Principal Investigators participate in the selection and recruitment of students. These are joint projects where both parties have a role to play in ensuring the success of the project and the training of the student throughout the four-year period. It is crucial to have collaboration from the beginning and ensure that the student is fully aware of AstraZeneca's involvement in the project from the selection and interview phase onward.

Q. What is the IP and confidentiality position?

A contract will be established to cover the terms of IP and confidentiality for a specific studentship. This may vary depending on the nature of the work and specific sharing of materials/intellectual property. Briefly though:

  • Results generated/developed by sponsor (AZ) alone: Results and any arising IP shall vest in and be owned absolutely by the sponsor
  • Results generated or developed jointly: Results and any arising IP shall vest in and be owned jointly by the sponsor and the University.
  • Results generated/developed by the university/student without sponsor's intellectual contribution: Results and any arising IP shall vest in and be owned absolutely by the University.

Further information can be provided and discussed during the contracting process with the relevant teams at the UoC and AZ.

Q. What happens after I submit?

After the application deadline, the project review committee will convene to review and discuss the submitted applications. Following their discussion, the committee will communicate their decision to the UoC programme manager, who will then relay the outcome to all applicants. Please refer to Appendix 2 in the application form for the specified timeline.

Q. Who do I contact if I require further information?

If you have queries, please contact AZ programme managers by email.

University of Cambridge: Meghana Patel (

AstraZeneca: Michael Tonge (

It is expected that all principal investigators (PIs) maintain regular communication with the programme manager at UoC throughout the project, which includes updating them on student recruitment and project progress, as well as notifying them of any unforeseen issues that could potentially impact the project.