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Local-level Public-private Partnerships (PPPs) in Public Health: an Analysis

  • 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

Public-Private Partnerships (and similar ‘whole of society’ approaches) involving collaborations between industry and public bodies are increasingly common options for national and local government. PPPs have been advocated for providing access to additional resources (in times of budgetary constraints), and expertise. Criticisms focus on conflicts of interest – particularly when sectors are linked to ‘harmful commodities’ (e.g. alcohol, confectionary). Analysis of PPPs in sectors not typically associated with harmful commodities (e.g. housing, education) is less common, despite their potential impacts on health and health inequalities.

This PhD involves a local case study analysis of PPPs across two to three different sectors – comparing at least one sector associated with harmful commodities and one that is not. It would aim to analyse and compare the risks and benefits of PPPs in different settings, and their implications for inequalities – to produce a more nuanced understanding of the role of PPPs in local public health. Case studies will be finalised to fit the student’s interests. However, we have local (North London) public health and UK networks which will allow data to be rapidly accessed for the following sectors.
• Alcohol: Partnerships between licensing authorities, health bodies, the police, and businesses and other organisations: e.g. (i) Local Alcohol Action Areas, and (ii) Community Alcohol Partnerships.
• Housing: PPP features across a range of local housing services including the provision of affordable housing and social housing.

Objectives are to:
• Determine the range of PPPs operating within the relevant case studies, and develop a typology
• Explore their (health and non-health) objectives, and implications for health inequalities;
• Collect data to understand how they work in practice;
• Understand their costs, benefits and limitations from different stakeholder perspectives;
• Determine their ‘fit’ within their local PH systems.

Project-specific skills and experience required:
• Experience in systematic or scoping review
• Ability to conduct stakeholder interviews
• Documentary analysis
• Knowledge exchange


• 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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