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Urban health inequalities from Victorian times to the present day: socioeconomic conditions, social interactions and economic fluctuations

Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

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Dr R Mancy No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Glasgow is known for its extreme health inequalities, but what is the origin of these and how far back do they go? How have they been affected by big ‘shocks’ such as infectious disease outbreaks, wars, and economic recessions? How have they been influenced by policies such as immunisation and the introduction of universal healthcare via the NHS? How much do socioeconomic conditions matter for health and has this changed over time? These are the questions that we will try to answer in this project.

To do so, we will put together a novel dataset from administrative records dating from Victorian times to the present day, and use applied statistical methods to answer some of today’s big public health questions. Archival records for the City of Glasgow are a wonderful resource: they combine detailed tabulated data that lend themselves to answering important questions of relevance today using both simple and complex statistical techniques; at the same time, they contain fascinating anecdotes and contextual information that provide a window onto another world. For example, annual reports, mostly available online, contain information on disease incidence for a range of infectious diseases, mortality data by cause, and measures of socioeconomic conditions and income. This dataset offers a unique opportunity to create a long and detailed time series of health outcomes at the neighbourhood level, with strong potential to make novel contributions to this literature.

The studentship is in collaboration with colleagues at Glasgow City Archives, who will work with and support the student in their work. We also expect there to be opportunities to travel for training, to participate in conferences, or to visit teams across the supervisors’ network in the UK, France, and Greece.


The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.

For direct entry to the PhD (+3), applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. An MSc (or equivalent postgraduate level) degree in population health/epidemiology, economics, public policy research, economic and/or social history or human geography, including statistical/quantitative training. (Applicants with a background in applied statistics or computing science should demonstrate evidence of a research interest in health/economics.)
2. An interest in health and its relationship with economic conditions and willingness to work with administrative records to compile quantitative datasets (largely using online resources).
3. Excellent communication skills, and ability to work as part of a team as well as independently.

For students interested in a 1+3 route, points (1)-(3) apply, with the exception that a Masters is not expected, and instead a good first degree (upper second or equivalent) applies, and relevant knowledge consistent with this level.

If you are not sure whether your background and qualifications are better suited to a 1+3 or a +3 award, please contact Rebecca Mancy to discuss, attaching your CV.

Applicants must complete the Supervisor Led Awards Eligibility Checker (https://glasgow.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/supervisor-led-awards-esrc-award-eligibility-checker-202) before proceeding with their application. Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria, which can be found here (https://esrc.ukri.org/skills-and-careers/doctoral-training/prospective-students/).

Award Details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process. The programme will commence in September/October 2020. It includes:

• An annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate
• Fees at the standard Home rate
• Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.

Other Information

The student will be based in the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) and will also participate in research and training activities in Economics. The student will join a group of academic staff and PhD students working on related projects.

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by Thursday 19 June 2020. Interviews will take place 22-26 June 2020.

All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme at the University of Glasgow. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

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