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  Data-driven Geographical investigation into health care inequality

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Ting-li Su, Prof T Walsh  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

With NHS dental services free for ages up to 18 years old, over the past few decades UK oral health has improved dramatically. However, oral health inequalities still exist. There are social gradients evidenced in oral health and some regions are identified as high priority areas (NHS England) with poor oral health that requires intervention (Public Health England). Since the main risk factors for poor individual health are gender and wealth, most research tends to approach inequality issues from individual ethnicity or the socio-economical context; and the deprivation index of an area is the most studied environmental factor that links to poor health. There is still scarce evidence with regards to accessibility to health services and oral health.

A statistical and data driven PhD project is proposed to look into inequality from a health care accessibility perspective. Can health care be easily and equally accessed by the population who need it the most? What are the key characteristics that link to the locations of these health services?

Both spatial and non-spatial factors will be examined to evaluate the geographical accessibility. Initially, the location distribution of the health service will be investigated. It will be considered together with population size to identify any areas with shortages and potentially the areas that are underserved. To study geo-accessibility, a range of measures of proximity and accessibility will be investigated, taking into consideration spatial factors such as distance, time of travelling and neighbourhood. We expect the PhD candidate to develop his/her own research agenda, one that incorporates the topic outlined above, but focusing on the student’s own interests and experience.


Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, and preferably a Masters in statistics, data science, epidemiology, public health, mathematics, medical sciences or a relevant subject area. Applicants with a passion for health research, a strong interest in quantitative methods applied to medical data, and good programming skills are encouraged to apply.

Before you Apply 

Applicants must make direct contact with preferred supervisors before applying. It is your responsibility to make arrangements to meet with potential supervisors, prior to submitting a formal online application.  

How to Apply 

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title - PhD Dental Health Sciences.

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents by the advertised deadlines. Without all the required documents submitted at the time of application, your application will not be processed and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you have any queries regarding making an application please contact our admissions team [Email Address Removed]  

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion  

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website  

Biological Sciences (4) Computer Science (8) Mathematics (25) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website


Inequalities in oral health in England”(19 March 2021) Public Health England
Starting well 13. NHS England