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How does adherence to treatment align with the reality of living with asthma?

   College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

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  Prof A Sheikh, Prof R Horne, Dr S Cunningham-burley, Dr Kathrin Cresswell  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lack of adherence with prescribed medication is now recognised as a major issue in the management of long-term conditions worldwide. In asthma, rates of non-adherence are estimated to range from 30-70%. Increasing adherence is therefore high on the international and national asthma research agenda and is a priority for the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUKCAR). There is a need for an in-depth understanding of patient perceptions of illness, expectations of and beliefs about care, and the degree to which patients feel able to use and benefit from their medications.

Current work within the Centre looks into patients’ perceptions of asthma treatment and symptoms, attitudes to adherence and the influences of stigma and embarrassment on adherence, as well as the effects of monitoring and feedback on adherence. Much of this work has been framed by the Perceptions and Practicalities Approach (PAPA).

This studentship aims to build on and complement this existing and ongoing work through an ethnographically-driven exploration of patient experiences of and perceptions around the issue of adherence. More specifically, this studentship aims to better understand patients’ priorities about their illness and management, and how these priorities align with the aims of adherence.

For more information on the outline project proposal and references, go to the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics studentship page:

Please note this is one of two projects offered for this Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUKCAR) studentship. The best candidate from applicants for both projects will be selected after interview. This project has the reference AUKCAR-17-01b.

Details on the other project can be found here:
Full details of both projects can be found here:

Entry Requirements:
• Have or be predicted to obtain 2:1 or higher in a relevant undergraduate degree.
• Post-graduate degree, or its equivalent if outside the UK, in relevant field is desirable.
• An interest in, and ideally experience of, healthcare research is essential.
• Applicants must meet the entry requirements (including English language proficiency) for acceptance onto the University of Edinburgh Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics PhD programme (Population Health Sciences). Details at:

Following interview, the selected candidate will need to apply and be accepted for a place on the Usher Institute Population Health Sciences PhD programme (as per link above).
• UK/EU tuition fees funded only (eligibility for UK/EU fees: applicants must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK/EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship). Eligible candidates that have an overseas fee status must fund the remainder of the overseas tuition fee.
• Information on fee status:
• Information on scholarships:

Application procedure:
Please provide in pdf format:
• CV
• Personal statement indicating how you meet the criteria for the chosen studentship and why you are applying to the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (maximum of 1 A4 side)
• Research proposal (maximum of 2 sides of A4, please include studentship project title and reference number)
• Degree certificate(s)
• Marks for your degree(s)
• 2 academic references
Email to: Dr Maria Moller ([Email Address Removed])
Closing date for applications: Fri 21st April 2017
Interviews will be held in Edinburgh.
The studentship will ideally begin in September 2017, although an earlier start date may be accommodated.

Funding Notes

This is an AUKCAR studentship, funded by The University of Edinburgh and will provide an annual stipend for three years of £14,296 per year (subject to confirmation), plus UK/EU University tuition fees.

There will, in addition, be funding towards research costs and conference/travel fees.

PhD students affiliated with the AUKCAR will have access to the post-graduate training scheme, be able to attend Annual Scientific Meeting, and be eligible for the travel bursary scheme.

Please note that funding covers UK/EU fees only and eligible global students will need to fund the remainder of the global fee (currently around £10,000 per year).


(1) Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Full text available online at:
(3) Levy M, Andrews R, Buckingham R, et al. Why asthma still kills: The national review of asthma deaths (NRAD) confidential enquiry report. Royal College of Physicians, 2014.
(4) Thoonen BPA, Schermer TRJ, Van Den Boom G, et al. Self-management of asthma in general practice, asthma control and quality of life: a randomised controlled trial. Thorax 2003; 58(1), 30-36.
(5) Driesenaar JA, De Smet PAGM, van Hulten R, et al. Beliefs about inhaled corticosteroids: comparison of community pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients with asthma. Journal of Asthma, 2017 (in press)
(6) Horne R. Compliance, adherence, and concordance: implications for asthma treatment. CHEST Journal 2006;130(1_suppl), 65S-72S.
(7) Cooper V, Metcalf L, Versnel J, et al. Patient-reported side effects, concerns and adherence to corticosteroid treatment for asthma, and comparison with physician estimates of side-effect prevalence: a UK-wide, cross-sectional study. NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine 2015; 25, 15026.
(8) Faasse K, Grey A, Horne R, et al. High perceived sensitivity to medicines is associated with higher medical care utilisation, increased symptom reporting and greater information‐seeking about medication. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 2015;24(6), 592-599.
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