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Higher education opportunity for Manx students

Thursday 23 September in Community

People with a strong connection to the Isle of Man have the chance to undertake a three-year fully paid-for PhD studentship in cancer research. The scheme, funded by the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association and in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, aims to help individuals develop their academic skills and gain hands-on laboratory experience. The charity also hopes the opportunity will help individuals to pursue a career in the medical industry, in the specialist field of cancer research.

IslandLife spoke to charity chairman Malcolm Clague:

This is a very generous opportunity for individuals on the Island. Where did this idea originate from?

The IOM Anti-Cancer Association started in 1959, ever since it has raised and dispensed in the region of £23 million. Each year, during our AGM which takes place in spring, we decide what we’re going to do with the money. This year our vice chairman came up with the great idea to fund a PHD, focusing on cancer research for a Manx person or someone with local connections. The money is in place and the university is now progressing activity following disruptions with the ongoing pandemic.

Why is it so important to have a Manx connection?

We’re a Manx charity operating in the Isle of Man with local volunteers – it just makes sense. The Island does not contribute a great deal towards medical research. We really would love to have a Manx person, someone with a local connection, family heritage rooted here, even someone who has previously been educated on the Island or who may have holidayed here as a child.

How much does the funding cover in terms of course fees, living expenses etc?

The applicant will have already completed their Bsc or Msc so they will have completed 3-4 years at university which, as well all know, can be costly to begin with! The scholar would get a standard stipend of about £17,000 tax free – as standard for PHD students. There are fees which would go to the university, as well as some running costs involved with the project. The proposed funding covers everything and the student should not have to pay anything additional, and neither does the Government.

Who can apply…and how?

The individual will be required to have prior qualifications in an appropriate area to enroll on the course. Those looking to study will probably already be familiar with www. findaphd.com – a platform where universities place adverts for courses. Through that website, people can find out more information about how to apply and the interview process.

What do you hope people can get out of this experience?

It’s a training position – they undertake three years of studies and, at the conclusion, they will submit their thesis and receive a doctorate. We would like to think they’ll then go into cancer research in some way or another. Often scholars with PHDs move on into some area which is attractive to them and get a job for life in that sector. Our greatest hope is that the recipient of the funds will be able to take the knowledge that is already there and explore, expand, develop and come up with some incredible breakthroughs – benefitting their career as well as the medical field more widely

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