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Rowling Scholars clinician scientist PhD scheme

Rowling Scholars clinician scientist PhD scheme

The Rowling Scholars scheme is a flagship PhD fellowship scheme for aspiring top clinical academics in any field related to Regenerative Neuroscience.

It is part of the purpose of the Anne Rowling Clinic to support and encourage the next generation of research leaders. The expansion of world-class translational research as a priority in the UK is vitally dependent on a fluent cross-talk between basic scientists in the lab and hospital-based clinicians. Yet no matter how successful, these two essential partners speak largely different languages, are equipped with different skills, and use different tools to approach problems.

A clinician-scientist can bridge that gap.

Regenerative Neurology

Working in Regenerative Neurology, Rowling Scholars are at the heart of the emerging discipline of Regenerative Medicine: pioneering state-of-the-art new approaches to problems that would have seemed insurmountable only a few years ago, and tackling common brain diseases for which there are no effective treatments.

Rowling Scholars can work in any discipline where a strong case can be made within the broad remit of Regenerative Neurology. This can range, for example, from epidemiology to clinical research to laboratory science (e.g. genetics, biochemistry, molecular/cellular biology).

Undertaking a training fellowship with a Rowling Scholarship can provide the foundation on which to build a successful career as a future leader in academic medicine or translational neuroscience.

About the scheme

The Rowling Scholars scheme aims to attract, inspire and nurture the next generation of regenerative clinician-neuroscientists.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran Director of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

The fellowships are intended to recruit the best aspiring clinical academics from a range of disciplines, and introduce them to internationally leading clinical and non-clinical supervisors and mentors. At the end of their fellowship, trainees will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to compete as independent investigators in area of translational or clinical research.

Because the Rowling Scholars have clear interests and career intentions, there are no 'ready-made' PhD projects on offer. Instead, potential Scholars choose a supervisor whose interests match their own from the diverse Edinburgh Neuroscience pool, and after discussions, draw up an outline project.

Rowling Scholars are then guided and mentored to generate pilot data and write successful clinical fellowship applications to the UKRI Research Councils and major charities such as Wellcome. Scholars also receive a minimum of 1-year's salary on a clinical scale plus an allowance for research consumables and travel. 

Rowling Scholars register for a PhD on the most appropriate University of Edinburgh degree programme.

Fellows enjoy a wide range of opportunities to network and develop transferable skills.


  • The Rowling Scholars scheme is open to those eligible for, or engaged in, specialty higher specialist training in the UK (including MRCP or equivalent) in any field related to Regenerative Neuroscience
  • Candidates must demonstrate the clear intention, ability and ambition to pursue a career in academic medicine
  • Candidates should have prior research experience, e.g., an intercalated degree

Application deadline

The next round of applications will be in Feb-Mar 2025 for a start in August 2025.

Why choose Edinburgh?

From day one, Rowling Scholars become part of the vibrant and collegiate Edinburgh Neuroscience community. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) Edinburgh was ranked 2nd for the quality of our research in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience. We also received a top score of 100% 4* (world-leading) in both the impact of our research and the research environment we provide, highlighting our world-leading facilities and research ethos.

For more information about research, teaching, support, career prospects and life at the University of Edinburgh, visit the Postgraduate study pages of the University of Edinburgh website.

Meet the Rowling Scholars

Draw inspiration from the profiles of our current Scholars and alumni.