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MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Informing Healthy Public Policy

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Informing Healthy Public Policy

June 2019 studentship topics

Note: The topics below are indicative. Student-led applications/topics relevant to the Unit and Programmes (ie on related topics with different supervisors) are also very welcome.

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Informing Healthy Public Policy

What are policy recommendations in public health research papers based on?
Lead supervisor: Dr Peter Craig
Research quality assessment increasingly takes account of actual or potential impact. Researchers face powerful incentives to emphasise the relevance of their work, yet reporting guidelines provide little guidance on how recommendations should be made. The GRADE framework provides a systematic method for developing recommendations, but is rarely used in public health research. This project will investigate how far recommendations for policy and practice made in public health research papers are supported by the data reported, and whether tools such as GRADE are used to formulate them. It should appeal to candidates interested in public health policy and evidence synthesis methods.

Public perceptions of Basic Income
Supervisors: Dr Gillian Fergie, Dr Kathryn Skivington, Prof Shona Hilton
A Basic Income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income for every individual as a right of citizenship. It is attracting increasing interest from policymakers and researchers worldwide. Various forms of basic income have been discussed, debated, and piloted e.g. in Canada and Finland, and a basic income is currently under consideration by the Scottish Government. Across national contexts, public perceptions of basic income are not well understood. The aim of this PhD would be to develop our understandings of the range and diversity of people's responses to basic income. Methods could be, for example, qualitative deliberative approaches and media content analysis.

Lead supervisor: Prof Shona Hilton
One of the greatest global health challenges of our time is antimicrobial resistance (AMR), with most of its burden falling on LMICs, both in human and animal health. This PhD project links into an existing 3m investment in Supporting the National Action Plan in Tanzania. The aim of this study will be to design, implement and evaluate a culturally targeted AMR communication campaign to Maasai communities on buckets (Ndoo). Buckets are one of the key resources used in these communities for a variety of daily activities, including those associated to high prevalence of resistance (e.g. water fetching and milk storage). This PhD will require travel and fieldwork in Tanzania.

Advancing legislative action on sugar
Lead supervisor: Prof Shona Hilton
Current estimates of sugar consumption in the UK show that school aged children and teenagers exceed the recommended levels, with those living in the most deprived communities consuming the most sugar and having the poorest health. Legislative action on sugar is of public interest as it may signal an increased political will to tackle obesity and non-communicable diseases including diabetes and tooth decay. This exploratory mixed-methods study, focusing on children and young people, will examine stakeholders’ roles and views in relation to the evidence-base, framing, advocating, and developing a roadmap for legislative action on sugar.

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