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FULLY FUNDED PHD: Combining behavioural and epi-ecological modelling approaches in the management of Lyme disease

Project Description


This PhD will combine behavioural theories of how people respond to changes in perceived health risks with ecological-epidemiological models of disease spread has the potential to deliver key new insights into how best to manage disease risks.

We address this idea using the Lyme disease system, a zoonotic disease of humans and animals that has been increasing rapidly in northern Europe, including Scotland.

Human behavioural change can reduce the cost of increases in disease risk via a reduction in exposure (eg recreationalists choice of where and how to recreate).

People change their behaviour in response to their perceptions of disease risks, yet risk perceptions are at best weakly correlated with how disease ecologists currently map risks.

The relationship between perceived (subjective) risk and objectively-measured risk (in our case, the estimated number of infected ticks in a grid square) is complex and dynamic, responding to accumulated experience and knowledge.

We will address two broad potential Disease Management approaches:

1. targeting changes in objective risk (eg by reducing tick hosts such as deer)
2. targeting changes in perceptions of risk (eg by providing information on how to avoid contracting Lyme disease or where the highest risk areas are).

Better understanding of this complex system is vital to providing more insight into alternative actions to mitigate such One Health problems in a wide range of settings.

The project will be joinly directed by an inter-disciplinary Glasgow-Edinburgh team (Lucy Gilbert, tick and Lyme disease ecologist; Nick Hanley, environmental economist; Rowland Kao, epidemiological modeller).


Funding Notes


1. Open to home, EU and international students.
2. 4 years stipend at UKRI rates (estimated to be in the region of £15,245 for 2020/21).
3. Annual research support budget of £2,000.
4. Travel support costs of £1,000.
5. Tuition fee waiver.
6. Application deadline is 12 noon, Monday 13 January 2020.


The ideal candidate will have a strong undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (eg economics, computing science, ecology, epidemiology) and a relevant masters qualification as well.


How good is research at University of Glasgow in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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