Our students

Our students come from a wide range of scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical backgrounds. Many join us after a period working in industry. Because medical imaging is a broad and diverse research area, our students have first degrees in a variety of subjects:

  • Applied Mathematics / Mathematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering disciplines
  • Physics

Facilities

Our students are based at four different King’s and Imperial campuses, where they have access to sector-leading facilities.

Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals at King's College London

  • 6 research clinical MRI scanners including 1 at 7T, 1 at 3T, 3 at 1.5T, 1 XMR at 1.5T
  • Mass spectrometry, HPLC and fluorescent microscopy systems
  • PET Centre research facility with 2 PET-CT scanners
  • Cyclotron-supported clinical PET-MR
  • Pre-clinical PET-CT, SPECT-CT, PET-MR, a 9.4T NMR, extensive ultrasound facilities and a DNP polariser
  • Microbubble contrast agent fabrication and characterisation facilities
  • 3 x 32-64 channel EEG systems, with 2 MR-compatible for simultaneous EEG-fMRI data collection

King's College Hospital And The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience At King's College London

  • 4 MRI scanners, including 3 at 3T and 1 at 1.5T
  • Pre-clinical 9.4T MRI scanner
  • EEG laboratory

Hammersmith Hospital and White City Campus at Imperial College London

  • Pre-clinical 9.4T MRI scanner, PET-SPECT-CT, IVIS Lumina III and FMT
  • Clinical 3T MRI scanner with large bore
  • PET-CT scanner
  • 32-channel EEG system

South Kensington Campus at Imperial College London

  • 3T MRI and 3T PET-MR scanners
  • Pre-clinical 7T MRI system
  • Extensive ultrasound facilities
  • High-speed optical microscopy setup
  • Microbubble contrast agent fabrication and characterisation facilities

Programme structure

Over their four years of study within the CDT, we aim to equip all of our students with the skills and knowledge that will enable the to explore a range of career options after their PhD.

CDT students normally follow a 1+3 pathway. In their first year, they typically join a cohort of around 15 to study for a Masters of Research (MRes) in Healthcare Technology. Their remaining three years are spent focusing on their PhD research project and thesis.

Students also follow an Advanced Skills training programme and enjoy other extra-curricular opportunities throughout their MRes and PhD.

MRES Year

The MRes is taught by King’s academics, with select modules featuring Imperial academics to showcase their research on relevant module topics.

The course syllabus includes a mix of common training modules, specialist elective modules from the relevant pathways of: Medical Imaging, AI in Healthcare Technologies and Molecular Imaging, and the individual MRes research project.

The course also has group activities that will foster interdisciplinary training as well as cohort building. The relevant CDT MRes pathway components are:

  • Common Training on research design, creative media, scientific publishing & peer review, journal club, scientific funding, healthcare economics, healthcare challenges, research ethics, sustainability, equality & diversity
  • Group Training in form of an interdisciplinary group project bridging between the different pathways, and to further promote cohort building
  • Personalised Training based on elective modules relevant to individual research project
  • Individual Training in the form of an MRes research project, as scientific foundation to the PhD

The MRes project will be written up as a report, with formal assessment by supervisors and an independent academic (typically one of the Scientific Theme Leads). MRes students will present their project to the cohort to share their research experience. The MRes year has been designed so that CDT students will “hit the ground running” when they embark on their PhD, as they will have acquired all the necessary skills needed. Several students from our current CDT, in fact, have published journal or conference articles during their MRes year, and all our students are expected to finish their PhD within the three years.

3-year PhD

Students carry out their 3-year long PhD research projects under the supervision of King’s or Imperial academics at their lead supervisor’s university. Projects are directed towards at least one of our four smart medical imaging themes.

As a CDT PhD research student, you will join a world leading interdisciplinary group of over a hundred scientists and clinicians. Our interdisciplinary nature provides a unique environment for our focus on rapid translation of cutting-edge research into the clinic.

In parallel with your research project, you will benefit from a dedicated training programme in transferable skills, responsible research and innovation, and entrepreneurship.

In year 2 of their PhD, CDT students will also choose from the following placement options:

Placements will normally run for a period of 3 months.

Beyond The Research

Industrial Placements

Many partner organisations are keen to host our students on placements. These experiences prove valuable to their studies and to our CDT as a whole.

Our students’ skills and expertise are highly sought after by research institutions and technology companies alike. Through our networks and support many opportunities have arisen for students to gain experience with external organisations.

Rob Robinson, CDT alumnus: During my time at the CDT, I have had the opportunity to undertake several internships for different multinational technology companies. For my first placement, I worked on a project at Samsung involving building, training and testing deep learning-based classifiers. These are algorithms that take an input – for example an image or a sound – and assign it to different categories depending on its content.

My work involved error-proofing and unit-testing of this codebase. We needed to run large numbers of experiments to find the right settings for all of our parameters, so I also conducted automated evaluation and validation of the algorithm. One aspect I found interesting was the systematic manner in which the progress was continuously assessed. Deliverables were a key outcome for all projects at Samsung. Each project had milestones at which we showcased recent work, known as “Demos”. This helped focus all of our research.

Before going into my placements, I had a general idea of what the industrial environment might be like, but my experience taught me a lot about the realities of the workplace. Perhaps the primary takeaway was the importance of demonstrating how our work related to our project goals and, ultimately, the impact it would have on the product and customer.

Conference Attendance

Whether it is through attendance as a delegate, speaking or organisation committee membership, involvement in conferences is an integral part of our students’ experience.

Students attend conferences around the world in their own fields of research. These provide the opportunity to gain further insights into their research areas, network with experts, and explore future professional opportunities.

We also hold our own Post-Graduate Research Symposium, a yearly event attended by up to 150 delegates, organised by a committee of our own students. Keynote speakers have previously included industry partners, clinicians and academics.

Elisa Roccia, CDT alumna: A highlight of my time at the CDT has been my involvement with the CDT’s Post-Graduate Research Symposium. I had responsibility for overall supervision of the different teams of students involved in organising the event and acted as liaison with the CDT Management Board. With this experience under my belt, I have since been asked to join the organising committee as Executive Co-ordinator for the IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging, a significant scientific conference.

Advanced Training

Covering a range of subjects, experts from across our institutions and from industry partners regularly provide workshops for our students.
Workshops include:

  • Introduction to public engagement
  • Research ethics and Data management
  • Responsible research and innovation
  • Making the most of conferences
  • Writing up your thesis
  • Preparing for your viva
  • Career seminars (academia, industry, policy)
  • Research seminars