All students undertook a substantive 3-year research project supervised by at least one academic supervisor, although many students had multiple supervisors covering different aspects of their interdisciplinary work. Students worked with their proposed supervisory team to define the topic of their substantive doctoral project shortly before the end of their second rotation project. Projects addressed research questions that lay within the remit of the programme and were subject to approval by the DTC. Once the project had been approved, students worked with their supervisor(s) to develop a research proposal for this project which both defined the background and aims of the project and the methodology to be used, and outlined a timeline for completion of the project within the 4 years of their graduate studies. This proposal was formally assessed by two expert assessors who provided advice on the project at an early stage, helping to ensure students had an exciting but feasible project that addressed an important biological or biomedical question, and that students were able to take full advantage of the training and resources available to them.
Students continued to have the support of the DTC throughout their studies, with specific training aimed at helping students to develop skills in key areas. These included project management, communication skills, the process of writing and submitting their DPhil thesis, and passing their DPhil viva.