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Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Research: Promoting Use and Non-Use: Medicines for TB and other Bacteria in an Era of AMR

Project Description

The containment of resistance in tuberculosis has historically been premised on the very tight control of TB medicines, yet in many countries such as South Africa this has been unsuccessful. With blame for resistance often being cast onto patients for ‘defaulting’ on treatment regimens, social research has contested this blame by highlighting the broader social and economic inequalities that lead to treatment failures. However, with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) increasingly recognised as a global threat, it is important to find what lessons might be learned from TB control programmes for attempts to damage-limit AMR for ‘ordinary’ antibiotics, as well as how potentially conflicting imperatives between getting/keeping people on antibiotics and scaling-back medicines use play out in local worlds.

Drawing on ethnographic, survey and documentary archival analyses, and on oral history, this PhD project asks: what are the roles of TB medicines in South African society in relation to broader patterns of antimicrobial prescription and use? Relatedly, how has TB changed as a policy object over time including now in the era of AMR, and what might we learn from previous (often failed) attempts to contain resistance in TB for other antibiotics? We are interested to explore historically the changing nature of health system responses to TB, to understand how legacies of the past bear upon contemporary treatment policies and behaviours. The successful candidate will have latitude to define the historical period and the regional focus of the study. The PhD will contribute to an expanding body of interdisciplinary work on AMR and critically situate the role of TB medications in this emergent field of policy and practice.

Potential applicants interested in further information are encouraged to contact Dr Justin Dixon or Prof. Martin Gorsky.

Benefits of joining the Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR Research.
• All PhD projects will be based within interdisciplinary research consortia funded by the UKRI Cross-Council AMR Initiative.
• All students will have access to enhanced training opportunities including residential skills and training courses, cohort-building activities, and annual conferences. All are designed to expose students to a range of discipline-specific languages and interdisciplinary research skills, which are essential for enabling them to thrive as multidisciplinary AMR researchers.
• PhD students will undertake a fully-funded 3-month interdisciplinary AMR project allowing them to work outside of their primary research area or an elective placement in industry, publishing, media, policy development or in AMR-relevant charities and organisations.
• All Medical Research Foundation-funded PhD students will also be part of a wider cohort of 150 PhD students from across the UK who are also studying AMR. The cohort will have access to a bespoke, innovative online learning environment, which will facilitate peer-to-peer networking, question setting and mentoring.

Further information can be found on our website:

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for this funding applicants must meet both the entry requirement and fee status requirement set out below.

Entry requirement: Applicants must meet the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s research degree entry requirements. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least a 2.1 honours degree in a relevant social science subject and should have training and experience with ethnographic and/or historical methods. Please read additional guidance on the LSHTM PhD Programme page.

Fee status requirement: Applicants must be assessed to have Home/EU fee status. Fee status is determined by UK government regulation. Details of this can be found on the UKCISA website. To qualify for Home/EU fee status, an applicant must be a UK or EU citizen who has maintained ordinary residence in the UK or EU continuously for 3 years prior to 1 September 2019.


To apply please submit a formal online application for PhD study to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. As part of the application you will be required to upload a research proposal. This proposal should draw upon the advert abstract provided and expand on it.

Funding Notes

This is 4 year fully-funded PhD studentship funded by the Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR (led by the University of Bristol). The studentship covers:

- Annual tuition fees at the Home/EU rate
- Stipend at MRC ’plus’ rate GBP 17,000.00 (2019-20) rising to GBP 18,500.00 (tax free) plus London weighting
- Yearly travel allowance
- Research costs
- Interdisciplinary 3-month research project/placement allowance

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