PhD Studentship in causal inference for the analysis of cancer registry data

   School of Health and Related Research

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  Dr N Latimer  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Proposed start date: 1st September 2020 (latest)

We are offering a fully-funded, full-time, 3.5 year PhD studentship in Epidemiology, Biostatistics or Health Economics. The position is jointly funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) and BresMed Health Solutions Ltd. It is based in the section of Health Economics and Decision Science (HEDS), part of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield. We welcome applications to undertake methods research into the use of causal inference methods to analyse cancer registry datasets, with a particular focus on the use of real world evidence to estimate the comparative effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Large United Kingdom cancer registry datasets (e.g. the Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) dataset) can be linked to hospital and primary care data. The student would access either English or Scottish data and would investigate the use of cutting-edge causal inference methods to estimate the comparative effectiveness of cancer treatments in practice. This research is of particular relevance given the planned use of SACT data to inform reimbursement decisions for treatments placed in the English Cancer Drugs Fund. You will be supervised by Dr Nicholas Latimer and Emeritus Professor Ron Akehurst. The supervisory team will be supplemented by experts from around the world, offering the opportunity to develop international collaborations.

ScHARR has over 300 multidisciplinary staff, and 450 postgraduate students from more than 50 countries around the world. It provides an internationally recognised programme of health services and public health research, knowledge transfer and teaching.

For more information about ScHARR visit:

YCR works in partnership with researchers, scientists and clinicians, the NHS, Public Health England and other health organisations and charities to make life-changing improvements in cancer care. This PhD should act as a catalyst for change to facilitate the delivery of better cancer services in Yorkshire and further afield. Dr Nicholas Latimer is a Senior YCR Fellow and is using YCR funding to support this PhD studentship.

For more information about YCR visit:

BresMed Health Solutions Ltd is an independent health economic and outcomes research consultancy with more than 150 staff based on the UK, India, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. It offers services in evidence review, evidence development, communication and strategy and insight.

For more information about BresMed visit:

Entry Requirements:

- Honours Bachelor degree (2.1 or above) in a relevant subject
- Merit (or equivalent) in MSc in epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, medical statistics, applied statistics or related subject OR equivalent experience
- Strong computer skills including use of statistical software packages, e.g. Stata, R or SAS
- Strong interest in applying statistical thinking and methods to problems in health-related fields
- Good communication skills
- Strong organisational and administrative skills
- Ability to work on own initiative and in a multidisciplinary team

How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here:

Please clearly state the title of the studentship, the prospective main supervisor (Dr Nicholas Latimer) and select ScHARR as the department.
Please also include:
• an outline of your proposed PhD study (approximately 3 pages of A4)
• a covering letter explaining why you wish to apply for this studentship
• a copy of your CV

Funding Notes

The studentship will include tuition fees at the home/EU/international student rate plus an annual maintenance grant (at the Research Council Doctoral Stipend rate which is currently £14,999 for the year 2019/20). In addition there is an annual Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 to cover other expenses such as conference attendance, training courses, equipment and books.

Where will I study?