Digital Health and Care

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Run by Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Health Sciences
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September 2021

Programme overview

Digital technologies are increasingly seen as vital to the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and management of illnesses such as diabetes, depression and dementia. Technologies such as smartphone apps, wearable monitors (eg blood pressure, blood glucose) and smart home systems can gather data on a person’s health condition within their community. This data has huge potential to support decision-making by health and care professionals, help a patient manage their own illness, support independent living and deliver behavioural or pharmaceutical treatments.

This CDT will nurture future leaders who will combine technological expertise with understanding of the health landscape; and empathy with the patient’s needs with an eye to new business opportunities.

Working together as a diverse and multidisciplinary group in purpose-built new laboratories adjacent to Bristol Cathedral, students will work closely with the local NHS, experts in social care, charities and with the CDT’s industry partners that range from start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations that are household names in computing and healthcare.

The first year will provide you with a unique foundation in the rapidly-moving field of digital health. Students from engineering/computer sciences backgrounds will be introduced to relevant aspects of health; while students from a health-related background will be introduced to coding, data analysis and e-health. You will come together to work on real-world digital health problems, leveraging varied expertise from across the cohort.

The three-year PhD research project will then put what you have learnt from your first year into practice, building new expertise and creating new knowledge in digital health and care.

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

This CDT programme has Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds to support up to ten UK/International students per year inclusive of tuition fees, enhanced stipend (£18,000 per year), research and travel expenses.

There are residence requirements for research council funding for postgraduate research. Please visit the EPSRC website to find out about Student eligibility.

Prospective UK and international postgraduate students seeking funding advice can visit Information on funding postgraduate study

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

Throughout the entire degree you will have access to world-leading experts and industrial engagement, providing you with the opportunity to learn about real-world challenges and how industry tackles them.

During the first year of the programme you will undertake a range of units allowing you time to build knowledge and ignite your curiosity. In addition, there will be opportunities for transferable skills training and participation in public engagement activities leading to your professional development.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the first year of the Digital Health and Care CDT programme.

Following this first year of structured units you will progress to the research component of the programme. At this stage you will be able to perform your own research at an internationally publishable standard. You will also be able to document and communicate your findings to peers and expert practitioners in the field.

Entry requirements

Upper second-class degree (or international equivalent) in either:

  • a STEM-related discipline (e.g. computer science, engineering);
  • or a health-related discipline (e.g. life sciences, medicine, health sciences, psychology, neuroscience, nursing or an allied health profession)

In exceptional circumstances, we may consider applicants with alternative qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

The Digital Health Engineering group applies computer science and electronic technologies to health and well-being challenges. Working with clinicians and the public, we research and design wearable sensors, low power communication networks, computer vision systems and machine learning methods that can reason about these diverse sources of data

The Visual Information Laboratory undertakes innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, resulting in new technology in the areas of computer vision, image and video communications, content analysis and distributed sensor systems. Current research includes: images and video search and retrieval; video tracking; visual SLAM; medical and bio-imaging; machine vision; 3D and multi-view processing; colour science; and high dynamic-range imaging, vision and graphics.

The Bristol Interaction Group is a creative interdisciplinary research team interested in designing novel interactive computers and displays. We specialise in exciting research that couples the design of hardware devices with complex electronic, electrical and physical properties, alongside deployment and evaluation in everyday public settings. We like to call this style of research Human-Hardware Interaction (HHI).

Researchers of the Communication Systems and Networks Research Group are members of the Smart Internet Lab. This recent initiative builds on Bristol's strategic research in communications and digital technologies to create a hub for Internet Research with long lasting benefits for society and the economy.

The Intelligent Systems group explores general principles underlying learning and intelligence in artificial and natural systems. An important aspect is machine learning and data mining techniques for systems and software that improve with experience. We also work on the interface between computer science and the biological sciences, exploiting connections that not only help to make computers more intelligent but also deepen our understanding of aspects of human intelligence. We are working on computational methods for automating significant parts of the scientific method. Our research enables the development of sophisticated systems that allow us to manage and make full use of vast amounts of digital data.


The digital health industry is one of the fastest growing, both internationally and in the UK, with current estimates indicating that the sector is increasing at a rate of 15 per cent each year. Driven by the health needs of ageing populations in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, China, Singapore, Japan and the US, this growth is expected to continue for decades to come.

Exciting career opportunities to develop new digitally-enabled, personalised health solutions therefore exist within academia, the charitable sector and health providers in many different countries (eg the UK’s NHS), as well as myriad companies that have active health research and development programs (such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, Huawei, Arm and many others).

How to apply
Application deadline:

This programme is now closed to new applications.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interviews from January onwards.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Digital Health and Care CDT Programme Enquiries Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 0646 Email:

Postgraduate Research Admissions Team Admissions Enquiries Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4753 or +44 (0) 117 331 5232 Email:

Digital Health
1st Floor
1 Cathedral Square
Trinity Street
United Kingdom
School website: School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Maths (SCEEM)
Department website: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Health and Care

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

  • Computer Science and Informatics:
  • 31% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 56% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 12% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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