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Simulating physical activity policies for population health.

Project Description

Although evidence supports the effectiveness of physical activity interventions targeted to either the whole community or high-risk groups, it is unclear in which conditions and contexts these strategies are more beneficial for population health, and their consequences for health inequalities.

Taking a systems approach and combining meta-narrative review and agent-based modelling, in this project the student will (1) model and compare the potential population health physical activity promotion interventions targeted to whole community and high-risk groups, and (2) investigate in which contexts and conditions these two broad categories of policies can be more impactful.

Over three years, the student will:

1. Conduct a meta-narrative review to synthesise theories, models, and empirical results about health interventions targeted to whole community versus high-risk groups.
2. Define conditions/contexts and types of interventions to investigate, as well as the relevant outcomes to observe.
3. Create, verify and validate an agent-based model that will serve as the virtual platform to experiment with the scenarios of interest.
4. Collect data from simulated scenarios, interpreting and discussing the results along with relevant stakeholders.
Prior training in computer simulation and agent-based modelling is not required.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

INTO Queen’s English Language Courses offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained at:

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE) Award*

Eligibility for both fees (£4,327 for 2019/20, 2020/21 TBC) and maintenance (£15,009 for 2019/20, 2020/21 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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