Reece Foundation 4-year PhD Studentship in Visual Neuroscience - Using advanced retinal imaging to see if eye movements can improve vision

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND

Value of award

100% of home fees and annual living expenses of £20,000.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

20 September 2021 for 4 years.

Application closing date

30 June 2021.


When we hold our gaze on an object we have the impression that our eyes are still, yet they continually make microscopic movements that are essential to our vision. Retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration, damage eyesight by reducing our sensitivity to light and disrupt these eye movements. This raises the possibility that by guiding eye movements appropriately, through training or visual cues, we could improve the effective eyesight of people with these conditions.

In this project, you will use advanced retinal imaging currently available in only a small number of labs to measure these movements with microscopic precision. You will design experiments to deduce the extent to which these movements are random versus under neural control and develop models of how they can enhance or degrade visual information. Working with healthy volunteers and patients, you will gain experience in developing basic research to address clinical questions.

This studentship is funded by a generous donation from the Reece Foundation, and open to students aiming to pursue research in cutting-edge basic neuroscience with the potential for clinical applications. The supervisory team is led by Laura Young, a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow with a background in optics and vision science, and co-supervised by visual neuroscientist Jenny Read and consultant ophthalmologist Will Innes. Working in a multidisciplinary team you will gain experience and training at the interface between engineering, optical physics, neuroscience and clinical applications of research.

You will have a background in physics, maths, computer science or similar and a keen interest in applying your skills in the life sciences, or alternatively a background in neuroscience or similar with strong computational skills.


The Reece Foundation donation for research studentships in Translational Systems Neuroscience at Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr L Young , Biosciences Institute, Professor J Read, Biosciences Institute and Dr W Innes, Eye Clinic, Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Have or expect at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent in mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, neuroscience or similar.
  • A masters-level degree. In exceptional circumstances, you can apply without this but will be expected to complete Masters-level taught modules in relevant subjects.
  • English Language: IELTS 6.5 overall (minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills).
  • Successful EU/international candidates must cover the difference between home and international fees.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. Please ‘Create a new account ’ and complete the mandatory fields:

  • Programme code: 8300F. 
  • Programme of study: ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences'.
  • Studentship code: BI037.
  • CV andcovering letter stating the title and reference code of the studentship, and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.
  • Degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

If applying for TWO or more projects using code 8300F please email with:

  • Your (first submitted) application number
  • Second studentship code and title
  • Two-page covering letter for the second project.


For further information, please email

Eligible Courses
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