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Welcome to OPTIMA: The EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging

Scientist examining equipment

What is OPTIMA?

Please note: OPTIMA is now closed to new applicants.

OPTIMA is a 4 year PhD training programme combining:

  • excellent research and PhD supervision in world-leading scientific environments, and
  • a bespoke programme of business training in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.

What we do

OPTIMA is a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) funded by both the EPSRC and the MRC in recognition for our use of cutting-edge optical technology to address key clinical questions via medical imaging.


OPTIMA is hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde.

Our aims

Our focus is to train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs in healthcare technologies and so we place great emphasis on interdisciplinary projects, commercially-relevant training and strong ties to the clinical environment.



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Having delivered training to OPTIMA students in the past I realise they are especially gifted in their outlook and skill set – most working on interdisciplinary projects. They therefore have a more open minded approach to research and are not averse about investigating different avenues in order to progress their research. From the point of view of Vivomotion (a science animation company), I realise there may be some students who are particularly interested in using animation for their projects and it would be an opportunity for them to develop this skill.

Mhairi Towler

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Latest from our blog

Real-time and non-invasive measurements of cell mechanical behaviour with optical coherence phase microscopy

Lay summary

A new paper by Dawn Gillies (OPTIMA 2015) and colleagues was recently published on the use of hydrostatic pressure to monitor how 'squishy' cancer cells are compared with non-cancerous cells.

This was the inspiration for the Squishy Cancer public engagement with research project, piloted for the first time at the Botanic Gardens @ EXPLORATHON 2018. More information can be found by following them on Instagram and and Twitter.

Kirsty RossOct 02, 2018 Publications