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How to address health inequalities? Measuring public views and public deliberation

   The Yunus Centre

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  Dr N McHugh, Prof Rachel Baker, Dr Ruth Lightbody  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Reference Number: YCSBH-2023-003

The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at GCU is offering a three-year funded interdisciplinary PhD opportunity.

In the UK, the health divide is widening. The better-off live longer, healthier lives than those worse-off. The COVID-19 pandemic increased these health inequalities, and the cost-of-living crisis is likely to exacerbate them. Engaging the public on health inequalities has the potential to generate new knowledge on how to address them and gain public acceptance for more transformative policies. However, we know very little about public perceptions of health inequalities, particularly regarding how they should be addressed.

One exception is a recent Q methodology study that identified and described shared views on causes of, and solutions to, health inequalities among community participants and professional stakeholders. Through the combination of methodological development and empirical research, this mixed method PhD project will build on this study in two ways. First, by developing Q-based survey methods to measure the extent to which the identified shared viewpoints from the Q methodology study are held, and examine the distribution of viewpoints, among a representative UK sample. Second, presenting the results of the Q-based survey as part of the evidence discussed in a deliberative group from which recommendations will be made about which policies to introduce to tackle health inequalities.

This PhD project will be of interest to those with a public health and social policy background. Through the PhD, the candidate will gain topic expertise and develop methodological skills that are relevant to a range of topics.

Candidates should have a minimum of a first degree and/or a Masters degree in public health, social policy or related subject. Candidates are requested to submit a motivation letter indicating how your skills fit the requirements and what you hope to get from the PhD project. 

Supervisor Research Profiles

Dr Neil McHugh / GCU Research Online URL:

Prof Rachel Baker / GCU Research Online URL:

Dr Ruth Lightbody / GCU Research Online URL:

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1st October 2023.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

Applicants should apply using this link: Quoting Reference: YCSBH-2023-003

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: Research Applications or for more information please see the Application Process.

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four to six weeks from the closing date. 

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: [Email Address Removed]


The GCU studentship is worth at least £22,548 per year for three years. The studentship covers payment of tuition fees (£4,880 for Home/RUK students or £16,800 for EU/International students) plus an annual stipend of £17,668 for Home/RUK students or an annual scholarship of £6,548 for EU/International students.     

EU/International candidates of outstanding calibre may be awarded a studentship of £34,468 per year for three years. The International Enhanced Scholarship covers payment of tuition fees (£16,800) plus an annual stipend of £17,668. 

For further details please see our Fees and Funding and Research Scholarships and Studentships webpages.   

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