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Regional inequalities in health in the UK: the contribution of individual-level characteristics and the role of the small area environment (WHITTYJMEDU20ARCHEP)

   Norwich Medical School

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  Prof J Whitty, Dr A Davillas  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are pleased to invite applications for a fully funded PhD studentship in the Health Economics and Prioritisation Theme of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East of England (http://www.arc-eoe.nihr.ac.uk/). The studentship is jointly funded by the ARC (50%) and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences University of East Anglia (UEA, 50%) and will be based at UEA.

The studentship is offered for an outstanding early stage researcher to conduct research relevant to health economics and prioritisation in health and social care. The successful candidate will undertake econometric analysis to explore regional inequalities in health in the UK using detailed biomarker data available in a large national representative social science dataset (Understanding Society – the UK Household Longitudinal Study; https://www.understandingsociety.ac.uk/). Decomposition techniques will be undertaken to explore the underlying sources of these inequalities, exploring the contribution of observed neighbourhood-level characteristics, and understand their relative role, over and above individual-level characteristics and lifestyle behaviours.

The project is aligned with our core areas of work in the “Better use of existing data” in which we aim to work with the ARC East of England’s Population Evidence and Data Science theme to utilise existing data sources to support the evaluation of health and social care services and inform local decision-making. The studentship will provide comprehensive research training in a range of applied micro-econometric techniques of large datasets. A background in applied micro-econometrics and/or previous experience with using large scale survey data would be an advantage.

The ARC and UEA offer a supportive environment for PhD students, with opportunity to participate in workshops, conferences and seminar events. Regular Postgraduate workshops host a range of experts and speakers.

Contact Dr Apostolos Davillas for further information: [Email Address Removed] +44 (0)1603 59 1208 https://people.uea.ac.uk/a_davillas

Start date: 2 February 2021

Full-time, 3 years

Location: Norwich, UK

Entry requirements:
• Applicants should have a 2.1 or higher undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, a background relevant to health economics and prioritisation, and an interest in applied research relevant to health or social care. Relevant disciplines for a first degree might include economics; medicine, nursing or another applied health or social care field; health sciences; psychology; mathematics/biostatistics or another area justified to be relevant.
• A relevant Master’s degree with a strong health economics component and/or previous experience in applied health economics research are desirable.
• Candidates must meet UEA entrance requirements – see: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research-degrees/how-to-apply/entry-requirements

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in an ARC EoE HEP Theme / Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. There are 2 studentships available (each being funded 50% by ARC and 50% by UEA FMH). These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of Home/EU fees and a stipend of £15,245 per annum. Overseas applicants may apply but are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2020-21 the international fee is £15,700 for non-lab based projects but fees are subject to an annual increase).


Professor Jennifer Whitty leads the Health Economics and Prioritisation in health and Social care theme for Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East of England. Her research focusses on evaluating patient-centred outcomes and economic evaluation in health and social care to inform evidence-based decisions. Jennifer has extensive expertise in preference elicitation methods (including the Discrete Choice Experiment), and evaluating interventions related to pharmacy and medicines use, nursing, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. She has been the lead health economics investigator for projects funded to a total value exceeding £14 million and has authored over 120 peer-reviewed journal publications including papers in top clinical and health research journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Medical Decision-Making, Value in Health, Health Expectations, and Quality of Life Research. Jennifer collaborates with researchers based in Europe, the United States of America, and Australia, where she holds Honorary appointments with the University of Queensland and Griffith University.
Dr Apostolos Davillas is a Lecturer in Health Economics, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich Medical School. His research interests are in the area of applied micro-econometrics and health economics, and cover a range of topics such as inequalities in health and health care, the demand for health care, health services utilisation and healthcare costs, the economics of obesity and disability research. On these topics, he has published in: the Journal of Health Economics; Health Economics; Social Science & Medicine; Economics & Human Biology; and other high impact interdisciplinary journals.

Davillas, A., Pudney, S. (2020). Using biomarkers to predict healthcare costs: Evidence from a UK household panel. Journal of Health Economics, 102356.
Davillas, A., Jones, A.M. (2020). Regional inequalities in adiposity in England: distributional analysis of the contribution of individual-level characteristics and the small area obesogenic environment. Economics & Human Biology, 100887.
Carrieri, V., Davillas, A., Jones, A. A latent class approach to inequity in health using biomarker data. Health Economics. https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.4022.
Davillas, A., Jones, A. (2020). Ex ante inequality of opportunity in health, decomposition and distributional analysis of biomarkers. Journal of Health Economics, 102251.
Davillas, A., Benzeval, M. (2016). Alternative measures to BMI: Exploring income-related inequalities in adiposity in Great Britain. Social Science & Medicine, 166, 223-232.
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