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Promoting Use and Non-Use: Medicines for Tuberculosis and other Bacteria in an Era of Antimicrobial Resistance

Project Description

2019-20 Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Research PhD Studentship

This fully-funded 4-year studentship is available for an excellent candidate interested in researching the problem of antimicrobial resistance in a cross-disciplinary manner (there are two project choices offered for this studentship, please see the separate advert for the second project). The successful candidate will commence study in January 2020.

The containment of resistance in tuberculosis (TB) has historically been premised on the very tight control of TB medicines, yet in many countries such as South Africa this has been unsuccessful. With blame for resistance often being cast onto patients for ‘defaulting’ on treatment regimens, social research has contested this blame by highlighting the broader social and economic inequalities that lead to treatment failures. However, with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) increasingly recognised as a global threat, it is important to find what lessons might be learned from TB control programmes for attempts to damage-limit AMR for ‘ordinary’ antibiotics, as well as how potentially conflicting imperatives between getting/keeping people on antibiotics and scaling-back medicines use play out in local worlds.

Drawing on ethnographic, survey and documentary archival analyses, and on oral history, this PhD project asks: what are the roles of TB medicines in South African society in relation to broader patterns of antimicrobial prescription and use? Relatedly, how has TB changed as a policy object over time including now in the era of AMR, and what might we learn from previous (often failed) attempts to contain resistance in TB for other antibiotics? We are interested to explore historically the changing nature of health system responses to TB, to understand how legacies of the past bear upon contemporary treatment policies and behaviours. The successful candidate will have latitude to define the historical period and the regional focus of the study. The PhD will contribute to an expanding body of interdisciplinary work on AMR and critically situate the role of TB medications in this emergent field of policy and practice.

Keywords: Medical anthropology, history of health services, systems and policy-making, documentary research and oral history

Potential applicants requiring further information are encouraged to contact Dr Justin Dixon or Prof Martin Gorsky

Funding Notes

This fully-funded studentship covers:

• tuition fees (Home/EU rate)
• tax-free stipend (£17,000 in Yr 1 increasing to £18,500 in Yr 4, plus London weighting)
• research costs
• 3-month research project/placement allowance
• annual travel allowance

For more information on the Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR, please see the Programme's website: View Website

Applicants must be assessed to have Home/EU fee status, have obtained at least a 2.1 honours degree in a relevant social science subject, and should have training and experience with ethnographic and/or historical methods. These are the minimum requirements for a competitive studentship.


How to apply

Applicants should submit an LSHTM online application for research degree study to commence study in January 2020, using the project details (title and proposed supervisor) provided in this advert. As part of the applications, applicants will be expected to submit a research proposal. The research proposal should use the project description provided and expand upon it. Under the ‘Funding’ section please indicate that you are applying for a Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR Research funded (MRF AMR) project.

Applicants short-listed for this funding will be interviewed by an academic panel from the AMR consortium at LSHTM. Interviews will be held at LSHTM.

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