Lewis Spitz Surgeon Scientist PhD Programme

A close up of a pippet and test tubes.

Call is now closed.

This is Round 2 of the Lewis Spitz PhD programme, supported by the NIHR GOSH BRC and GOSH Charity. Applications invited from exceptional surgical trainees (ST2/3-ST8) to carry out a 3-year doctoral fellowship in translational biomedical research at UCL GOS Institute of Child Health (GOS-ICH).

Key dates

  • Applications are expected to close on Sunday 26 November 2023, 23:59
  • We anticipate that interviews will be in person (near Russell Square tube station, London) and will take take place in the week commencing 15 January 2024
  • If you have any queries, please contact Valerie Karaluka (BRC@gosh.nhs.uk)

Key documents and guidance

How to apply

Submission to this opportunity should be made on the UCL Jobs Website following the steps outlined.

  1. Download and read the guidance and application form and the job description
  2. Select up to two projects from the Portfolio of projects for the Lewis Spitz PhD programme
  3. Complete the Application Form and convert to PDF file titled “[Your name] – Lewis Spitz application"
  4. Prepare your CV according to guidance
  5. Enter Jobs@UCL Lewis Spitz PhD fellowship advert
  6. Complete the required information in the online application.
  7. Upload your CV in the "upload CV" section.
  8. Upload the completed PDF applicaiton form in the "Attachments - Other attachment" section.
  9. Please do not include research papers. You may include qualification certificated and professional membership.
  10. Check your application and submit


The Lewis Spitz Surgeon Scientist PhD programme, supported by the GOSH Charity between 2017-2022, has been a highly successful scheme that has supported five outstanding surgical trainees wishing to develop careers in paediatric surgical sciences. This year, GOSH Charity together with the newly awarded NIHR GOSH BRC, are pleased to announce a new joint PhD programme “The Lewis Spitz Surgeon Scientist PhD Programme, supported by GOSH BRC & GOSH Charity”.

GOSH Charity is UK's largest dedicated charitable funder of child health research and is committed to supporting world-class paediatric health research. Its five-year research strategy puts children and the adults they will become at the centre by focusing on delivering personalised medicine for children with rare and complex conditions. Working closely with GOSH and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH), GOSH Charity has the ambition to help unlock breakthroughs in child medicine by supporting researchers’ investigations into the causes of rare diseases in children and conditions that start in childhood.

The NIHR GOSH BRC funds early translational research focused on paediatric rare or complex diseases, which aims to translate discoveries from basic/discovery science into clinical research and through to patient and economic benefit. GOSH and the UCL GOS ICH were first awarded BRC status by the NIHR in 2007. In 2022, the GOSH BRC secured £35 million to take it into its fourth term, running from December 2022 to November 2027. In this fourth term, as part of a wider national collaboration, a BRC National Paediatric Excellence Initiative has been set up between GOSH BRC and children’s hospitals in Birmingham, Sheffield and Liverpool.

The Lewis Spitz Surgeon Scientist PhD programme is driven by the need to increase capacity through training in the scientific basis of paediatric surgery, with a focus on treating children who suffer from congenital malformations, cancers and other conditions requiring surgery. The key aim of the scheme is to develop future surgeon scientist leaders with excellence in translational research.

The scheme will fund up to four surgeon scientists to pursue a doctoral research degree based at the UCL GOS ICH over the next five years. The intention for this round is to fund two candidates to start their PhD in October 2024.

Call information

This is Round 2 of the new Lewis Spitz PhD programme. Applications are invited from exceptional surgical trainees (ST2/3-ST8) to carry out a 3-year doctoral fellowship in translational biomedical research at GOS-ICH. Candidates will register for a 3-year UCL PhD and will apply for an honorary contract at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.

Applicants will be required to select a project from the programme's portfolio in which they wish to conduct a PhD. Each project will be jointly supervised by a senior member of academic staff at GOS-ICH, and a consultant surgeon at GOSH. Some projects may have additional co-supervisors from the GOSH BRC’s Paediatric Excellence Initiative partners.

Important project eligibility consideration

PhD candidates will be selected on merit. The NIHR GOSH BRC is not allowed to support animal research studies. Therefore, projects available in this portfolio will either need to be entirely human based to qualify for 100% NIHR GOSH BRC funding; involve a maximum of 50% animal research across the three-year PhD, in which case they would be eligible for co-funding by the NIHR GOSH BRC and GOSH Charity; or involve more than 50% animal research in which case they would need to be fully funded by GOSH Charity.

In the second round of applications to the Lewis Spitz Surgeon Scientist PhD programme, we will aim to appoint two fellows to start in October 2024. One position will be reserved for a successful candidate to complete a 100% GOSH BRC-eligible project.

Financial support

The PhD Fellowship provides full salary support, allowing fellows protected time to concentrate on their research, training, and development. This scheme will fund your salary (full time research), commensurate with your stage of clinical training, up to but not including consultant level, PhD fees (please note, this funding can only support home fees), and direct project costs (up to £10,000 per year; funder T&Cs apply) for a period of 3 years.

Eligibility criteria and conditions

We are looking for exceptional and motivated surgical trainees passionate about research for the benefit of patients.

You will hold a registered primary qualification in Medicine (MB BS or equivalent), have a full GMC registration and entry on the appropriate GMC Specialist Register. You will have completed medical training at least to ST2/ST3 level and, ideally, you will have completed the exam for Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).

You will be practicing in the UK and be employed by an NHS Trust at the time of the application.

You should have clear plans for completion of specialty training. Applicants should consult their deanery about undertaking a PhD and their plans to complete specialty training within the appropriate timelines. Start date will be subject to the approval of the deanery, but please note that the start date must be within 6 months of 1st October 2023 for round 1 of the scheme.

You will demonstrate an ambition to pursue a clinical academic career path and be able to provide evidence of previous research experience and/or aptitude to undertake a research-intensive PhD. Candidates do not need to have held a previous position with formal research time (e.g. an academic foundation or academic clinical fellowship (ACF) post).

These are full time research positions with strictly limited opportunity to participate in clinical activities. Where the clinical work relates specifically to recruitment of participants to a clinical study that forms part of the work of the fellowship, this activity will be funded through the fellowship. Where the clinical activity does not directly form part of the PhD research activity (e.g. where it is standard clinical duties), this will need to be funded through alternative non-research funding routes as the scheme is intended to provide protected time for research activities only. In exceptional circumstances, additional (overtime) duties may be permitted but must be agreed with the supervisory team to ensure that the PhD can be completed within 3 years.

How your application will be reviewed


Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted for interview based on the criteria in the job description and person specifications. Outcomes of shortlisting will be communicated via UCL jobs portal. Please note that due to the large volume of applications, we would not be able to provide detailed feedback individually to applicants at this stage.


Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, which will be held in January 2024. The interview panel will be announced prior to the interview.

Selection criteria

The criteria used for shortlisting and subsequent interviews will include:

  • The person specification outlined in the Job Description in reference to your CV and the online application form
  • Your track record (including publications, presentations, grant funding, and leadership) as appropriate for career stage of the applicant, described in your CV and the application form.
  • The outline of vision by the applicant of research direction and career path. For clinical trainees this includes planned strategy to combine academic and clinical training.


  • Call open: expected 13 October 2023
  • Applications deadline: expected Sunday 26 November 2023
  • Shortlisting: mid-December 2023
  • Interviews for shortlisted candidates: expected w/c 15 January 2024
  • Start date for successful application: no later than 02 October 2024