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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Joanne Gray Friday, January 29, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Newcastle United Kingdom Epidemiology Macroeconomics Microeconomics Other Socio Economics

About the Project

Implementation of evidenced based effective and cost-effective services or practices is a priority for health & social care services where resources are increasingly scarce relative to the demands placed upon them. Implementation science addresses this gap through the study of methods that promote systematic uptake of EBPs into routine practice in order to improve health & social care services and, ultimately, patient and public health outcomes [1]. 

Implementation researchers have developed and tested highly specific methods used to help providers improve uptake of evidence-based practices. Yet methods for the economic evaluation of implementation of services and practices is lacking despite it being an integral part of health technology assessment. Its application within improvement and implementation evaluative research remains relatively limited [2].

Economic evaluation has traditionally focused exclusively on the costs of interventions or EBPs themselves at the patient level in specific populations and settings and not costs related to the resources needed to implement them. It has already been identified that the use of existing economic methods in evaluating the implementation of evidence-based guidelines are of limited quality and scope for understanding the cost-effectiveness of implementation strategies [3,4,5]. In particular, existing methodologies do not for example, include ‘hidden’ costs related to preparation and training of successful implementation and are often linked to wider studies built around more traditional evaluative research designs, specifically randomised controlled trials. Therefore, the integration of economic methods into alternative evaluative designs within the fields of improvement and implementation is a current research priority given that commissioners and Integrated Care Service (ICS) providers need to be able to make business cases to progress to implementation and scale out of interventions and services. The knowledge generated in this project would inform these processes and has the potential for widescale impact.  

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

·       Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

·       Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

·       Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF21/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 29 January 2021

Start Date: 1 October 2021

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Informal enquiries to Dr Joanne Gray ()

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home students and includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2020/21, this is £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees.
Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
• have settled status, or
• have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
• have indefinite leave to remain or enter.


This study aims to develop and test a methodological framework for the economic evaluation of implementation science. This will be underpinned by a mixed methodological approach based on case study findings.
1. Eccles, M., Mittman, B., 2006. Welcome to Implementation Science. Implement. Sci. 1 (1),
2. Hoomans T, Severens JL. Economic evaluation of implementation strategies in health care. Implement Sci. 2014;9(1):168.
3. Grimshaw JM, Thomas RE, MacLennan G, Fraser C, Ramsay CR, Vale L, et al. Effectiveness and efficiency of guideline dissemination and implementation strategies. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2005;21(1):149.
4. Hoomans T, Evers SMAA, Ament AJHA, Hübben MWA, Van Der Weijden T, Grimshaw JM, et al. The methodological quality of economic evaluations of guideline implementation into clinical practice: a systematic review of empiric studies. Value Health. 2007;10(4):305–16.
5. Roberts SLE, Healey A, Sevdalis N. Use of health economic evaluation in the implementation and improvement science fields-a systematic literature review. Implement Sci. 2019 Jul 15;14(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s13012-019-0901-7. PMID: 31307489; PMCID: PMC6631608.
Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project
Tew GA, Bedford R, Carr E, Gray J et al Community-based prehabilitation before elective major surgery: the PREP-WELL quality improvement project BMJ Open Quality 2020;9: e000898. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2019-000898
G Maniatopoulos, D J Hunter, J Gray, The art and science of priority-setting: assessing the value of Public Health England’s Prioritization Framework, Journal of Public Health, , fdaa016,
McCarthy, A., Gray J, McMeekin, P., Haining, S. et al. Rapid evaluation for health and social care innovations: challenges for “quick wins” using interrupted time series. BMC Health Serv Res 19, 964 (2019).
Echevarria C, Gray J, Hartley T, et al Home treatment of COPD exacerbation selected by DECAF score: a non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation
Thorax 2018;73:713-722
Brown S. Dalkin S. Bate A. Bradford R. Allen C. Brittain K. Clarke A. Hand A. Exploring and understanding the scope and value of the Parkinson’s nurse in the UK (The USP Project): a realist economic evaluation protocol. BMJ Open 2020; 10:e037224. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037224
Devi, R., Goodman, C., Dalkin, SM., Bate, A., Wright, J., Jones, L., Spilsbury, K. Attracting, recruiting and retaining nurses and care workers working in care homes: the need for a nuanced understanding informed by evidence and theory. Age and Ageing. 01 July 2020.
McCafferty S, Williams I, Hunter D, Robinson S, Donaldson C, Bate A. Implementing world class commissioning competencies. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 2012, 17, 40-48.
Peacock., S., Mitton., C., Bate., A., McCoy., B. and Donaldson., C. (2009) 'Overcoming barriers to priority setting using interdisciplinary methods.' Health Policy, 92 (2-3): pp. 124-132.
A. Bate, C. Donaldson, M.J. Murtagh. Managing to manage healthcare resources in the English NHS? What can health economics teach? What can health economics learn? Health Policy. 2007; 84: 249-261.
May, C.R., Johnson, M. & Finch, T. Implementation, context and complexity. Implementation Sci 11, 141 (2016).
May C, Finch T: Implementing, embedding, and integrating practices: an outline of normalization process theory. Sociology 2009, 43(3):535-554.
Murray, E., Treweek, S., Pope, C. Finch T et al. Normalisation process theory: a framework for developing, evaluating and implementing complex interventions. BMC Med 8, 63 (2010).
A paper about NPT as a ‘toolkit’: May CR, Finch T, Ballini L, MacFarlane A, Mair F, Murray E, Treweek S, Rapley T: Evaluating complex interventions and health technologies using normalization process theory: development of a simplified approach and web-enabled toolkit. BMC health services research 2011, 11(1):1.

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