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Meta-scientific studies of reproducibility: exploring factors that influence the replicability of results generated by large population-based cohort studies

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

UK Reproducibility Network PhD Studentship

We are offering an exciting PhD opportunity for candidates interested in exploring factors that influence the replicability of results generated by large population-based cohort studies. The successful candidate will benefit from a highly multidisciplinary supervisory team and research training environment in the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (

This 4 year PhD studentship, part of the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN), will focus on meta-scientific studies of reproducibility, and is suitable for applicants from a range of backgrounds (e.g., psychology, epidemiology, statistics). This will be based in the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit ( at the University of Bristol, a leading centre for research excellence in population health science, with a strong tradition of meta-research and evidence synthesis. The successful candidate will have access to an excellent training portfolio of short courses and transferable skills training and be part of a cross-disciplinary cohort of PhD students.

Epidemiological findings may be unreliable due to analytical flexibility and potential lack of transparency in individual study reporting, meaning that the total number of analyses conducted may not be reported, and the analyses which are reported may not be described in sufficient detail to allow them to be reproduced independently. This means that the generation of spurious findings is highly likely. In particular, the high-dimensionality of epidemiological datasets means that there may be many possible alternative approaches to analysing the same data by different researchers.

The extent to which study findings can be reproduced independently (when using exactly the same datasets and analysis methods), are sensitive to analytical choices, and generalize to other contexts and cohorts requires critical evaluation. The UK Biobank study provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to investigate this issue, given the existence of a large, freely available and widely used data set from this cohort. This unique health resource consisting of questionnaire data, phenotypic measurements, biological sampling, imaging and links with electronic health records for 500,000 of its participants.

The successful applicant will be based at the University of Bristol, within the School of Psychological Science, supervised by Marcus Munafò, Rebecca Richmond and George Davey Smith, and will become one of a network of doctoral students supported by the UKRN, based across Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford and Edinburgh.

How to apply:

Please ensure you attach the relevant documents listed here to your application. Please make an online application for this project at choosing 'Faculty of Science/PhD in Psychological Science' as the programme.
Under ‘Funding’, identify IEU as your fee payer.
Closing date is open.
Only applicants from the EU and UK are eligible for this programme.

Candidate requirements:

The successful candidate will benefit from tailored cross-faculty training in a range of relevant methodological approaches, with a particular focus on epidemiology and evidence synthesis, but with opportunities to extend this training into other domains.


This studentship is funded by the IEU. The studentship consists of UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend of £14,577p.a. for 2018/19 (updated each year).


For further information on the project and how to apply please email Marcus Munafo

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