Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program


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The Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program is a supplementary learning opportunity to enrich your graduate research experience. The program offers an opportunity to share your research with other disciplines and expand your peer network.

You can find existing Graduate Research courses using our Find a Course search tool.


The Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides specialist cancer research training and support for PhD candidates. It complements your core PhD activities.

The program provides a unique opportunity for PhD candidates researching cancer-related topics to work together. It attracts PhD candidates from a range of disciplines.

To be eligible, you must be enrolled as a PhD student in a partner organisation. Together, these organisations form the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance. Through this program, you will experience clinical and research activities across the alliance.

Upon completion, you will be ready to conduct world-class cancer research. The program will also prepare you for a wide range of career options. It does this by broadening the scope of your research knowledge. And by providing professional development and career training programs.

What are the key benefits?

Through the Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program, you will:

  • experience clinical and research activities across the ten partners of the VCCC alliance
  • understand the bench-to-bedside model. This model is fundamental to the VCCC approach to integrated research.
  • enhance your academic progress and stay on track for timely completion of your PhD thesis
  • access professional development and career training opportunities. These opportunities will prepare you for a broad range of career options.
  • build your CV and give yourself a career advantage. Gain formal recognition of specialist cancer training and professional skills. You will receive a record of participation at the end of your candidature.
  • access the Program’s online ‘Community’ resource. You will stay informed of activities. And you can access recordings of past seminars and events.
  • network with students who have common research interests, from other organisations in the VCCC alliance.

Who facilitates this program?


Through the program, you will build your CV and obtain a career advantage. You will have access to a coordinated program of skills, research and career training. This is in addition to your usual PhD activities.

Academic skills development

  • Seminars
    • Cancer-specific seminars and presentations
    • Annual 'Methods in Cancer Research' seminar series
  • Research skills workshops
    Specialist training in:
    • core technologies
    • intellectual property and commercialisation
    • good clinical practice
  • PhD thesis writing boot camp
    • Annual three-day Thesis Boot Camp. This helps with writing your thesis and submitting it on time.
  • Journal clubs
    • Evaluation and discussion of scientific journal articles

Professional and career development

  • Generic and transferable skills workshops
    • Topics include networking, leadership, managing your candidature/supervisor, and preparing grant and fellowship applications.
  • Mentoring
    • How to get the most out of a mentoring/coaching relationship.
  • Internships and placements
    • Getting help to identify internship and placement opportunities with industry/external groups.

Communication skills development

  • Research communications
    Workshops on:
    • preparing conference abstracts and posters
    • writing and presentation
  • Teaching and outreach
    • Teaching opportunities, including the supervision of work placement students
    • Community engagement activities.

Research seminar series

  • Hallmark event for the Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program.
  • Annual seminar series delivered in themed blocks of lectures.
  • Each theme emphasises the bench-to-bedside model. It incorporates a range of topics from basic, translational and clinical research and impact on clinical outcomes.
  • Past topics include: cancer immunology, cancer genetics and genomics, oncogenes and tumour suppressors, and pillars of cancer care.

Student Symposium

  • Annual event held by postgraduate student societies. This event showcases student research as oral and poster presentations.

Grand debate

  • Annual cancer-themed debate with participants from VCCC alliance organisations.

Chat with a Nobel Laureate

  • Annual Q&A-style event with a Nobel Laureate.


  • Social events and opportunities to connect with graduate researchers from other organisations. These people may have similar research interests to you.


To be eligible for this program, you must be:

  • working on a cancer-related PhD project
  • enrolled at one of the organisations of the VCCC alliance.

Download the program brochure to find out more.

Contact us for more information, or to join the program.

First published on 21 February 2022.

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