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 a variety of subjects:

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

    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 rang 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.


      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

      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 student 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 student: 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

      Public Engagement

      CDT students are encouraged to engage different groups of people with their research in order to maximise its impact. Public Engagement allows mutual learning between the public and the academic community. It enables students to use their scientific knowledge and skills to inspire and educate new audiences and allows their research to be informed and strengthened by the insights of communities with lived experience.

      The CDT’s Public Engagement team is on hand to help students get involved with the vast range of opportunities available. They run training workshops, share opportunities, help with funding applications, and facilitate students’ own projects.

      Public Engagement initiatives that CDT students have taken part in include:

      • Lates at Science Gallery London – Taking a creative approach to research to engage and inspire young adults
      • Imperial Festival – Sharing scientificknowledge and passion with thousands of visitors at a large science festival
      • STEM for Britain – Showcasing research to UK MPs through a poster competition at the Houses of Parliament
      • Pint of Science – Taking science to the local pub to give the public an insight into the latest research developments across the field
      • Royal Institute Masterclasses – Inspiring the next generation of scientists through workshops
      • I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! – Participating in a reality-TV style competition, where school students are the judges

      CDT students demonstrate the potential of VR in surgical planning at the Great Exhibition Road Festival 2019

      Children with heart conditions visit the Science Gallery London to hear about our cardiac surgery-related research

      CDT staff and students explain the use of radioactivity to diagnose and treat cancer at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2018 CDT students host a series of Coding for Girls workshops for local Girlguiding groups

      Public Engagement at the CDT is championed by our Public Engagement ambassadors. This group represents the student community and provides insights and advice on integrating Public Engagement into our research culture and practice. Here, two of our Public Engagement ambassadors share some thoughts on their experience of Public Engagement at the CDT:

      Hannah Perry, CDT student: I really enjoy encouraging children and teenagers to see the fun side of science and develop ambitions of university-level studies and careers in STEM. Taking part in public engagement projects is a great thing to do alongside my research and I have been involved in a number of events throughout my time at the CDT.

      At the Imperial Festival, I led a workshop where children made pH indicators out of red cabbage. At the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, visitors to our stand learnt about cardiac abnormalities through an interactive game with 3D-printed hearts.

      I have also been heavily involved with ‘Spectroscopy in a Suitcase’. Through this programme, I have visited over 30 schools to demonstrate how spectroscopy works to A-level students using a portable machine. The aim of the initiative is to give students first-hand experience of spectroscopy, which they study as part of A-level Chemistry, but rarely have the chance to practice.


      Jonathan Jackson, CDT student: Since starting my PhD I have been involved in several public engagement initiatives, including a school visit where I helped to run science-based activities and computing classes.

      I have recently been working on a series of coding workshops for a local Girlguiding group. For this, with the support of other CDT students, I ran a series of activities that aimed to develop the girls’ coding skills and promote women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

      It was great to have an opportunity to step out of the complexities of doctoral-level research and encourage a new audience to be excited about the potential of technology. The feedback was very positive and we are intending to run more masterclasses in the future.