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A study of the impact of the socio-economic, educational and demographic characteristics of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on their healthcare interactions and clinical decisions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 03, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This scholarship is funded by the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Swansea Bay University Health Board and UK Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Swansea University, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for funded PhD study, available to start in October 2019. The following collaborative studentship is available in the Data Science, Health & Wellbeing pathway of the Wales DTP:

‘A study of the impact of the socio-economic, educational and demographic characteristics of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on their healthcare interactions and clinical decisions’ (working title) in collaboration with Swansea Bay University Health Board and the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Project description:

Good quality healthcare requires an understanding of how the factors that shape peoples’ identities impact their healthcare and their interactions with healthcare professionals. The current project aims to study the impact of socioeconomic, educational and demographic characteristics on health interaction and clinical decisions of people with MS. Several authors have argued that clinical decisions are influenced by factors such as patients’ socioeconomic status, age or gender, but evidence to substantiate such claims is scarce and largely based on simulated scenarios, not real patient records. Such understanding is especially relevant within MS which affects around 100,000 people in the UK. Due to the non-specific nature of early onsets and symptoms there is a potential for increased risk of problems associated with late diagnosis or inadequate treatment.

This project will make use of the vibrant world-leading research environment of the data sciences and health informatics at Swansea University Medical School. It will use rich self-reported and clinical datasets in the MS Register, along with SAIL’s world-leading databank of de-identified individual healthcare records to address this gap. The study will focus on the following questions:

- Do patients’ socioeconomic, educational and demographic factors impact decision-making (diagnosis, referral and treatment) and healthcare journeys of people with MS? If so how?
- Is it possible to identify strategies that can be used to improve the care provided to people living with MS? Can that information be used to help doctors, other healthcare professionals and individuals to make better decisions?

Residential eligibility:

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. You must:

• be ordinarily resident in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay, and

• have been ’ordinarily resident’ in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and

• not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education).

Due to funding restrictions, these scholarships are not open to international candidates.

Academic eligibility:

ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ award.


Full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job, or a permanent part-time job, during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.

Funding Notes

The studentship provides the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend. There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

Studentship awards commence in October 2019 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,009 per annum for 2019/20 for full-time students, updated each year) and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, oversea institutional visits and other small grants.

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