UK/EU students

PhD studentship - Engineering the next-generation of multi-cell biosynthetic corneas with defined biomechanical and biochemical environments

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,848 (full award).

Number of awards


Start date and duration

28 September 2020 for 3 years.

Application closing date

Wednesday 8 July 2020.


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate interested in undertaking a PhD research project within the scope of the Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme scheme.

The position
This position aims at supporting talented individuals aspiring to work and develop their scientific and technical skills within highly-innovative industries. The PhD candidate will therefore join a small but vibrant team of researchers at 3D Bio-Tissues (3DBT), a spin-out company from Newcastle University developing next-generation engineered tissues for healthcare and food applications. The work will be based at the International Centre for Life, and supervised by Professor Che Connon and Dr Ricardo Gouveia.

The project
3DBT is currently developing a number of highly-advanced tissue substitutes capable of reproducing many of the characteristics of the native human cornea. The present project aims at integrating our recent discoveries in the field of cell biology and biomechanics (see here) to further improve on current tissue designs. The outcomes of this ambitious work will improve the quality of 3DBT’s biosynthetic corneas, potentially benefiting millions of patients worldwide and allowing their use as sophisticated corneal models (e.g. to replace animal testing).

The perks
The selected candidate will integrate a young and dynamic team of scientists at the forefront of this very promising and fast growing field of research. As part of an industry-academia partnership, this project will provide the candidate with access to world-leading expertise in multiple areas, including advanced cell culture, tissue bio-fabrication, and analytical characterisation (biochemical, biophysical and molecular biology techniques). Moreover, it will offer a unique opportunity to gain skills essential for a successful future career in science and/or industry, including complex problem solving, creative thinking, and precise communication.

For further information please see the lead supervisor’s Newcastle University webpage and that of the sponsoring company 3DBT below.


ERDF/SME (3D Bio-Tissues Ltd)

This project is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund and by 3D Bio-Tissues Ltd.

European Regional Development Fund logo

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor C. J. Connon (Newcastle University)

Dr R. M. Gouveia (3D Bio-Tissues Ltd)

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in a subject relating to biology, biomedicine or biotechnology. A further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.
Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
• insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
• select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences’ as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code BI029 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code BI029 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
• attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ( with the following information:

• your application number (from the first project application that you submitted online)
• the second studentship code and its corresponding title
• a two page covering letter for the second project

Our Postgraduate Admissions Service will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.


For further details, please email:
Professor C. J. Connon
Bioscience Institute

Eligible Courses