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3-year PhD in Co-production/implementation: Co-producing sexual health services with African and Caribbean heritage members of the public to reverse HIV inequalities

   Bristol Medical School

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  Dr J Horwood, Dr Michelle Farr , Dr Fiona Fox  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the Project

The University of Bristol is offering a 3-year funded PhD studentship for an individual with strong qualitative/mixed methods skills and an interest in co-production, sexual health and addressing HIV health inequalities experienced by people of African and Caribbean Heritage. 

Although anyone could become infected with HIV there are some groups in society that are disproportionately affected by HIV. This includes disproportionate numbers of people of African and Caribbean heritage who identify greater stigma and barriers to recognising HIV risk and accessing testing and treatment services, which can result in worse health outcomes. It is estimated that 6% of Black African men and 4% of Black African women who are living with HIV are unaware of their diagnosis, and therefore are at greater risk of passing the virus on to others through unprotected sex. In addition, 52% of Black African adults have a late HIV diagnosis which can result in a life expectancy at least 10 years shorter than someone who starts treatment earlier. This is much higher than the 43% diagnosed late overall in England.

The studentship will be linked to HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation’s Common Ambition Bristol project which aims to tackle HIV health inequalities, by people of African and Caribbean heritage working in equal partnership with NHS sexual health service staff, to co-produce sexual health services to ensure they fit the needs of African and Caribbean heritage communities. By working together, sharing responsibility, decision-making and power, the project aims to co-design and co-produce bespoke HIV testing and support services to increase HIV awareness, HIV testing, while reducing HIV stigma.

This studentship offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate how sexual health interventions can be co-produced and co-implemented to optimise their acceptability and effectiveness. It will be an opportunity train in mixed methods and to develop methodological innovations to evaluate the co-implementation of interventions with experienced supervisors Dr Jeremy Horwood, Dr Michelle Farr and Dr Fiona Fox. You will further benefit from co-supervision from Prof Isabel Oliver, Director of the National Infection Service of Public Health England.

 You will be based at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation in the department of Population Health Sciences, a leading centre for research excellence. This studentship will begin by October 2021.

University of Bristol, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School

Bristol Medical School is the largest and one of the most diverse Schools in the University of Bristol, with approximately 930 members of staff and over 260 postgraduate doctoral research students. The School is a leading centre for research and teaching across Population Health Sciences and Translational Health Sciences. Research in the School is collaborative and multi-disciplinary, with staff coming from a wide range of academic disciplines and clinical specialties.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed the University of Bristol’s position as a leading centre for health research. In Population Health Sciences 50% of our research was rated as 4* (world leading), and 86% as 4* or 3* (world- leading or internationally excellent). 100% of our research impact case studies were rated as world-leading, as was 100% of our research environment. This recognition of our outstanding impact and research environment reflects our engagement with patients, the public and policy makers and our commitment to training, staff development, multi-disciplinary research and collaboration. In the areas of Clinical Medicine and Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience returns from staff in the Medical School also had approximately 80% in the world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) categories.

Within the Medical School are several major research centres, groups and programmes. More details can be found on the Medical School website.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants are sought from individuals who have, or are expected to obtain, a 2.1 or higher degree in relevant health or social science discipline (for example, medical anthropology, medical sociology, health psychology). Possession of a relevant Master’s degree, or research experience, would be advantageous.

Please note: A research proposal is not required at application stage.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at  Please select Faculty of Health Sciences and Population Health Science PhD on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the NIHR/HPRU funding in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Further information:

For informal enquiries or further information about this PhD project, please contact Dr Jeremy Horwood ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behaviour Science and Evaluation at standard UKRI rates (£15,609 for 21/22) and covers the cost of home tuition fees £4475 (21/22). A grant for research consumables will also be available. Standard UKRI eligibility criteria apply. (See TGC 5.2)
International/EU students are welcome to apply if they can fund the difference in fees which would be approx £19425 per year.
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