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Process evaluation of the CEW (Complications of Excess Weight) clinics

   College of Health and Life Sciences

  Dr Gemma Mansell, Prof J Blissett  Saturday, April 15, 2023  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Main supervisor: Dr Gemma Mansell 

Associate supervisors: Professor Jacqueline Blissett and Dr Renuka Dias

Rates of overweight and obesity in England are steadily increasing. Around 1 in 4 children of primary school age have overweight or obesity, which can lead to severe complications such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and mental health problems. As part of the UK Government’s Long-term plan1, Complications of Excess Weight (CEW) clinics were set up to address complications related to obesity in children and young people ( The roll out of clinics began in 2021, with data on clinical outcomes including weight and comorbidity being routinely collected. However, the key outcomes of the clinics, and what will define “effectiveness”, are yet to be established.

CEW clinics meet the definition of a complex intervention, in that they are multi-component, tailored to the individual patient, and involve multidisciplinary delivery2. To evaluate the CEW clinics, in terms of value for money, value for the patients, and value for the clinical teams delivering them, this PhD programme will investigate the key treatment targets (what components of the intervention are most effective in leading to patient improvement), and also what works for whom (identify key patient characteristics that could be predictors of treatment success).


  • To systematically review theoretical models for weight management interventions and specific behaviour change techniques previously used;
  • To survey stakeholders involved in the CEW project (including healthcare professionals and patients) to identify key outcomes of interest;
  • To investigate the effectiveness of the CEW clinics by analysing data on the outcomes collected at baseline and key points throughout the CEW intervention;
  • To perform mediation analysis to test the proposed mechanisms of action of the CEW intervention.

Submitting an application

 As part of the application, you will need to supply:

·       A copy of your current CV

·       Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree (if studied); this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English

·       A research proposal statement*

·       A personal statement

·       Two academic references

·       Proof of your English Language proficiency

 Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.

 Please select “Research Health Sciences” from the application form options.

 *The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor’s name, project title and project reference in your Personal Statement.

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at  


1 NHS Long-term plan, accessed 13th November 2022;
2 Skivington K, Matthews L, Simpson SA, et al. A new framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions: Update of Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ 2021;374:n2061.
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