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Inequalities in the prevalence and management of multi-morbidity amongst people who use secondary care mental health services.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, June 19, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Deadline: 19th June 2020
Interview: Late June 2020
Duration: 3 years, commencing October 2020
Stipend: £17,803

NIHR ARC North Thames and the NIHR SPHR invite applications for its jointly-funded 3-year PhD studentship to begin September 2020. Supervisors are drawn from across both the NIHR ARC North Thames and NIHR SPHR. This collaborative initiative allows unparalleled access to leading applied and public health experts, supervisors who are leaders in their field, channels for dissemination of research, participation in bespoke training, and a strong network and community of graduate students and researchers.

NIHR ARC North Thames

NIHR ARC North Thames is a research partnership committed to identifying the health and care problems that most concern everyone in our region, designing innovative research in response and then quickly putting findings into practice. Led by Professor Rosalind Raine (UCL), the ARC is a collaboration of 50+ partners including universities, NHS trusts, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, UCLPartners, patient/public organisations and industry.

NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)

The NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) ( is a unique collaboration between leading academic centres in England. Established in 2012, NIHR SPHR aims to conduct high quality research to build the evidence base for effective public health practice. Our research looks at what works practically to improve population health and reduce health inequalities, can be applied across the country, and better meets the needs of policymakers, practitioners and the public.

Project Description

The NHS long term plan highlights reducing inequalities in physical health for people as one of its key objectives.
We have established expertise in the management and prevention of early mortality in people with severe mental illnesses such as psychosis and bipolar affective disorder, where the mortality gap results in 10-15 years of life lost.

However there is growing awareness that focussing on SMI neglects early mortality and health care inequalities for other people with long term mental health conditions such as chronic anxiety, depression, eating disorders and personality disorders.

This PhD project will quantify these inequalities and determine which aspects of physical health care screening and management may explain excess multimorbidity for people who have long term mental illness, but who are not currently targeted by NHS provision for screening and enhanced care.

The study will utilise cohort designs in CPRD and/or CRIS. It will benefit from our long standing expertise in health informatics, using both national primary care records and mental health routine data.

The project will offer training in epidemiological methods and data science, to determine which interventions might improve multimorbidity outcomes for people with long term mental health conditions, but no ‘SMI’. This will include cancer and cardiovascular related interventions and screening for this vulnerable group.

This is an emerging priority for PHE and the NHS, with the possibility of new indicators of mental health inequalities (covering all mental health service users).

We will also determine the impact of deprivation, urbanicity, pharmacological interventions and substance misuse, according to the interests of the candidate.

Covid-19. Our local data sources will also allow for exploration of inequalities related to mental health and multimorbidity in the incidence and mortality from identified coronavirus infection in people who use secondary care service s but who do not have a traditional definition of SMI.


• Candidates should hold a Master’s in a relevant discipline (or complete their Master’s by September 2020) and have a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in their first degree.
• All applicants require excellent written and verbal communication skills and should be willing to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams.
• Due to funding restrictions, applicants must be UK/EU nationals. Please see UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA - for criteria.
• Applicants should preferably have knowledge of the UK health and care system.

How to apply

Your application should consist of:
• A CV (qualifications, work experience, publications, presentations and prizes) & contact details of two academic referees.
• A personal statement (300 words) describing your suitability for the proposed project including how your research experience, skills and interests relate to the topic.
• A 1-page proposal of how you would develop the PhD project that you are applying for.

For applications and enquiries, please email

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