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Nutritional determinants of skeletal development and bone loss: an investigation using a novel computer vision assessment of bone microarchitecture

   Faculty of Medicine

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  Prof N Harvey  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Lead Institute / Faculty: MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, Faculty of Medicine


Main Supervisor: Professor Nicholas Harvey

Other members of the supervisory team:

Professor Kate Ward, Dr Sasan Mahmoodi, Dr Elizabeth Curtis, Dr Rebecca Moon, Dr Nicholas Fuggle, Professor Cyrus Cooper

Amount of stipend and fees: Owing to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK applicants.

Fees: £4,596.00 per year increasing in line with university fees

Stipend: £16,062.00 per year increasing in line with UKRI guidance

Duration of the award: 36 months, full-time

Project description: 

This is a unique opportunity for a student to develop cutting edge artificial intelligence systems to solve real world life-saving problems in medicine. The aim of this exciting clinical epidemiology/artificial intelligence PhD project is to develop artificial intelligence systems based on machine learning techniques to analyse bone images from the internationally unique mother-offspring [Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS)] and older-age cohort [Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS)] resources curated by the world leading MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, University of Southampton, to elucidate nutritional determinants of bone microarchitecture across the lifecourse.

Training in computer vision and machine learning methods will be provided through the world leading school of Electronics and Computer Science. The candidate will benefit from training in generic research skills, epidemiological methods and statistical analysis through senior scientists at the MRC LEC, UKRI’s flagship musculoskeletal research investment, together with opportunity to undertake specific modules as part of the University’s Masters in Medical Statistics course, and ongoing training as part of the University’s Doctoral College programme. The student will be encouraged to submit and present their work at national and international leading conferences in medical imaging and bone research. The LEC hosts an annual national “Introduction to Epidemiology” course, which the student will be supported to attend. Applicants with a background and/or interest in artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning are particularly encouraged to apply.

The supervisory team, led by Professor Nicholas Harvey, Deputy Director and Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Epidemiology, comprises an internationally competitive group of academics, providing expertise across epidemiology, computer science, bone imaging, nutrition and musculoskeletal development.

Please contact: Professor Nicholas Harvey [Email Address Removed]

Person Specification: Please view here

The successful candidate is likely to have the following qualifications:

  • A 1stor 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters

Funding information:

The 3 year UKRI MRC / University of Southampton Institute for Life Sciences studentship provides full stipend (£16,062 per annum UKRI 2022-2023 rates), PhD fees (£4596 per annum at 2022-2023 rates), together with a consumables/training grant of £3000 per annum.



Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University's online application form, which you can find at


You should enter Professor Nicholas Harvey as your proposed supervisor. To support your application provide an academic CV (including contact details of two referees), official academic transcripts and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date).

Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to Professor Nicholas Harvey ([Email Address Removed]).

Closing date: 5th June 2022

Interview date: Date to be confirm in June 2022

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