Child Health PhD / MPhil / MD

Women and Children’s Health research in Liverpool has an international reputation for excellence. The Department of Women’s and Children’s Health incorporates obstetrics, gynaecology, neonatology and medical and surgical paediatrics.

Why study with us?

I've thoroughly enjoyed working in the new Wolfson laboratory alongside PhD students, post-docs and lab technicians. It's been a great environment for me to complete my research.

Jenny Davies - Child Health PhD student
  • 100%

    4* and 3* in research environment in Clinical Medicine REF (2014).

  • 309

    academic members of staff.

  • 359

    registered postgraduate research students.


The Department of Women’s and Children’s Health is internationally renowned for research covering obstetrics, gynaecology, neonatology, and medical and surgical paediatrics.

Based in a vibrant new state-of-the-art Institute in the Park at Alder Hey, Child Health research in Liverpool is predominantly focussed and led by young senior clinical academics with established teams and considerable income streams.

Our main research facilities are integrated with two of the largest specialist Women’s and Children’s hospitals in Europe, the Centre for Women’s Health research within the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Institute in the Park within the Alder Hey Hospital.

The Department of Children’s Health is internationally renowned for its research and has specialist groups covering obstetrics, gynaecology, neonatology and medical and surgical paediatrics.

Paediatric Respiratory and Cystic Fibrosis

NIHR and Wellcome funding supports longstanding programmes on RSV bronchiolitis and cystic fibrosis, and newer programmes on asthma and aspiration lung disease. Much of this research utilises cells and tissues from the lungs of children to create disease relevant models of infection and inflammation.

Paediatric Rheumatology

The Clinical Academic Department of Paediatric Rheumatology has become one of UK’s leading Paediatric Rheumatology Research Centres and is part of Liverpool’s EULAR Centre of Excellence for Rheumatology. Liverpool is the UK's only Centre of Excellence for Childhood Lupus. It leads national collaborative research networks in many rheumatological conditions and is a major contributor to all national paediatric rheumatology research initiatives and many international collaborations.

Paediatric Pharmacology

Liverpool is one of the few national centres supporting the development of paediatric clinical pharmacology. There are very close links with the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicines and the Centre for Drug Safety Sciences, also in Liverpool.

Neonatal Medicine

Strong links with both obstetric and child health underpin a perinatal approach to neonatal research activity. Neonatal research is focused on translational medicine and clinical therapeutics for newborn babies, with Liverpool leading a recently appointed European-wide network for neonatal and paediatric clinical trials.

Paediatric Neurodisability and International Child Health

Strong links with the Sanyu Research Unit has enabled knowledge transfer between rich and poor settings and the development technologies and techniques to improve child health globally.

Paediatric Surgery

Paediatric surgical research in Liverpool centres on strong collaboration between academic surgeons and basic science researchers. This has led to world class research into the aetiology, pathology and treatment of major congenital malformations including congenital diaphragmatic hernia and Hirschsprung’s disease.

Paediatric Nephrology

With strong links to the Rheumatology group, Paediatric Nephrology research is focussed on developing an inter-disciplinary, collaborative ‘Renal inflammation and injury’ translational programme.

Research themes

Our research themes in Child Health are:

  • Research synthesis and clinical trials
  • Biology of the developing lung
  • Paediatric Rheumatology
  • Developing better medicines for children
  • Paediatric infections
  • Paediatric renal inflammation and injury
  • Improving child health globally
  • Stem cell therapy for Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Cell biology of childhood malignancies.



The Child Health Research Team is based at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, a new £280M facility opened in 2015 with a catchment area of 7.5 million and more than 275,000 episodes of care per annum including 65,000 children seen in the A&E department.

A new, state-of-the-art bespoke ‘Alder Hey Institute in the Park’ brings together the strengths of the University and NHS in Research, Innovation and Education (Phase I, £12.5M opened 2015, with the £13M Phase II extension opening in 2018) with outstanding laboratory facilities.

The recently renewed £2M funding to support the NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility (CRF) for Experimental Medicine serves as a hub for conducting experimental medicine/ early phase/ late phase clinical trials/ studies in neonates and children to ensure that Liverpool is a key UK and European player for drug development in paediatrics.

Research groups

  • Paediatric Respiratory and Cystic Fibrosis led by Professors Southern and McNamara, along with Drs Semple and Flanagan, includes a longstanding Cystic Fibrosis and RSV bronchiolitis, lung aspiration, asthma and effects of tobacco smoke research programme
  • Paediatric Rheumatology including the UK’s only ‘Centre of Excellence for Childhood Lupus’ and ‘Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children’ (>£1.4M) led by Professor Beresford, recently joined by Professor Hedrich
  • Paediatric Orthopedics, led by Mr Daniel Perry, NIHR Clinician Scientist leading major national and international clinical studies in paediatric orthopaedics
  • One of the few national centres supporting the development of Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology, led by Dr Hawcutt, is a close collaboration with the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicines and the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Sciences
  • Neonatal Medicine, led by Dr Turner, including translational medicine and clinical therapeutics for newborn babies
  • Neurodisability and International Child Health led by Dr Gladstone leading many studies and initiatives nationally and internationally;
  • Paediatric Surgery led by Professor Losty and Mr Kenny delivering world class research in major congenital malformations including congenital diaphragmatic hernia and Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Paediatric Nephrology, led by Dr Louise Oni, developing an inter-disciplinary, collaborative ‘Renal Inflammation and Injury’ translational research programme.

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD / MD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* This excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^ Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

If an EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 August 2021.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

Applicants for postgraduate research study at Liverpool are normally expected to hold a UK first degree with a First Class or Upper Second Class degree classification, or a Second Class degree plus a Master’s degree. Equivalent international qualifications are also accepted, and their equivalence will be evaluated on the basis of the information provided by the National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (NARIC) as well as internal guidance based on our experience of a qualification’s suitability as a preparation for our programmes.

We welcome applications from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those required to study for this research degree. See our guidance on international qualifications.

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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