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Neighbourhood and health in later life: a mixed methods study

School of Social and Political Science

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Dr A Marshall , Dr S Lewis , Prof Jamie Pearce No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Edinburgh United Kingdom Human Geography Public Policy Social Anthropology Social Work

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency. Our alumni will become leaders in across a diverse range of pioneering and influential roles in the public, private and third sectors.

This is an exciting opportunity for a candidate interested in developing a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and applying them to an interdisciplinary study of the connections between health and place.  The study will enhance our capacity for predicting and planning the resources required for social care in later life.

Using vital statistics on mortality and census health indicators, you will begin by first identifying neighbourhoods in Scotland where health outcomes among older residents (65 and over) are concordant or in conflict with model predictions based on neighbourhood characteristics (e.g., deprivation, green space, trust, ability to influence decision-making). Novel approaches including Bayesian statistics will be used to examine these issues.

Then, using qualitative methods, the specific contextual reasons for concordance or conflict will be explored with older residents in example conflictual and concordant neighbourhoods. Finally, you will explore the use of Bayesian methodology and survey data (e.g. English Longitudinal Study of Ageing) to accommodate quantitative and qualitative insights, with the ultimate aim of improving model estimates of health outcome and associated care needs. 

The supervisory team reflects the project’s approach, bringing together expertise in quantitative methodology and methods (Marshall, who is also Director of School for Social and Political Science Research Training Centre), qualitative and ethnographic methodology and methods (Lewis, Senior Research Fellow, School of Health in Social Science) and expertise in Human Geography and neighbourhood health effects (Professor Jamie Pearce). These different approaches come together in a shared interest in the determinants of health, care and wellbeing and in particular the ways in which neighbourhood environment influences health over the life course.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry stipend for the full 4 year period.

The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:

Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:


Video PhD Introduction

ACRC Academy Video:

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