Doctoral Program

ACTREC offers the Ph.D. degree in the Life Sciences from the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), a deemed University established by the Department of Atomic Energy.

The Ph.D. students at ACTREC undertake basic and translational research in Cancer Biology. Specific research topics include study of cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metastasis, tumor immunology, molecular imaging, carcinogenesis, stem cell biology, biophysics, structural biology, bioinformatics, proteomics, genomics, genetics and epigenetics.

Admission to the Ph.D. Programme

Applications for the Ph.D. program are invited through advertisement in leading newspapers and through our website [] early in the year (February / March). Candidates all across India can apply, and selection takes based on their performance in a written examination and an interview.

Educational Qualifications of Applicants

M.Sc. (Applied Biology / Biochemistry / Bioinformatics / Biophysics / Biotechnology / Botany / Life Sciences / Microbiology / Molecular Biology / Zoology or related Biological Sciences); M.Tech. (Bioinformatics / Biotechnology); M.V.Sc. or M.Pharm. from a recognized University, with greater than or equal to 60% aggregate marks. Those awaiting results may also apply. Candidates who have done post-graduate course of only one year are not eligible.

Qualifying Test & Interview

  • Candidates fulfilling the minimum eligibility requirements must first APPLY ONLINE, and then SUBMIT a printout of the filled and signed application along with all the requisite enclosures mentioned in the application form and a Demand Draft (DD) for ₹ 500/- drawn in favor of TMC-ACTREC payable in Navi Mumbai (No fees for female candidates and SC / ST / Physically Handicapped candidates, provided proof is attached). Eligible candidates are called for a written entrance exam in Navi Mumbai at their own expense. Candidates who qualify in the written test are interviewed within 2-3 days of the written exam.

  • Candidates who have valid Junior Research Fellowships from CSIR / UGC / DBT or other recognized agencies - obtained after appearing for a written entrance test, are called for direct interview at ACTREC around the same time. These candidates too must apply online and submit the printout.

  • A list of candidates short listed for direct interview based on their performance in the Joint Graduate Entrance Examination for Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (JGEEBILS) is displayed on the ACTREC website. Candidates in this list who are interested in ACTREC's Ph.D. program must apply online and submit the printout.

Final admission of successful candidates into the Ph.D. program is subject to the candidates satisfying HBNI eligibility criteria and completion of other requirements like medical examination. On admission into the Ph.D. program, the candidates get Junior Research Fellowship (JRFship).

Orientation Course

Before initiating the Ph.D. project work, all JRFs at ACTREC must go through a core training course of HBNI, which exposes them to different facets of Cancer Biology through several modules encompassing disciplines such as Cell Biology and Cancer Cell Biology; Molecular Biology and Epigenetics; Genetics, Stem Cell Biology and Immunology; and Macromolecular Biophysics and Statistics. On completion of the core course, the JRFs take up the requisite number of Electives in areas such as Tumor Immunology; Carcinogenesis, Chemoprevention and DNA repair; Angiogenesis and Metastasis; Cancer Therapeutics; Deregulation of Cell Growth in Cancer; Animal Models in Cancer Research; and Structural Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Structural Biology. JRFs are also given orientation in Research Methodologies, Intellectual Property Rights, Epidemiology and Bioinformatics, Orientation to Cancer Clinics. The JRFs also receive training in Advanced Instrumentation, Orientation to Advanced Techniques and Laboratory Safety Guidelines.

The progress of the JRFs is monitored through a series of written tests, take home assignments, and presentations based on the lectures delivered in each module, and also seminar presentations. The JRFs have to score an average of 60% marks in the Cancer Biology core course and electives.

Doctoral Committee

The research work of each JRF is monitored by a Doctoral Committee (DC) comprising of the Chairman, Guide, Faculty member/s of the HBNI in a related area of research, Faculty member from an allied domain of specialization, and a Technology advisor, where necessary. DC members meet once a year to evaluate the work done by the student. Extension of fellowship is based on the DC report and recommendations of the Committee.


JRFs at ACTREC receive a stipend of ₹ 25,000/- + 30% HRA (if hostel facility is not allotted) per month as applicable. The fellowship is paid on the 8th of every month. Candidates having secured fellowship from external agencies like CSIR, DBT, UGC can avail the external fellowship. The Junior Research Fellowship is tenable for a period of 2 years, extendable by a further period of no more than 2 years, on an annual renewal basis. Extension for the third and fourth year is considered after extensive evaluation of the work done during the previous years. JRFs are not treated as regular employees of the Centre and are not automatically considered for any appointment.

TA/DA to attend Conferences

JRFs are paid TA / DA to attend Meetings / Conferences at least once a year.


Each JRF is entitled to 30 days leave in a year, in addition to the declared holidays observed by the Centre during the calendar year of twelve months. Leave not availed during the first year can be carried over to the next year. However, no more than 60 days leave can be accumulated at any time during the tenure of the fellowship and no more than 30 days can be availed at a given time. There is no separate provision for medical leave. The JRF has to seek prior permission before taking leave, by submitting a leave application forwarded through the Research Guide and, in the first year, also the Chairperson of the Academic Committee. Failure to do so or remaining absent from duties without prior permission or over-staying of leave is treated as 'unauthorised absence from work' and proportionate deductions are made from the fellowship amount, in addition to taking disciplinary action for absenteeism.

Hostel Facilities

Hostel facilities are made available on first come first served basis. Those JRFs who are not provided hostel accommodation have to make their own living arrangements.

Identity Card

Each JRF is issued an identity card, and it is mandatory to display it on his / her person while on campus.