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Using system modelling methods to develop and compare interventions to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in primary care

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Bradley
    Prof F Kee
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

PLEASE NOTE: Interviews for this project will be held on the morning of Friday 22 March 2019. Shortlisted applicants must be available to attend.

Over-use of antibiotics promotes the evolution and spread of bacteria that are resistant to treatment, resulting in harm to patients. Preventing antimicrobial resistance is one of the most important global public health priorities. Reducing the use of antibiotics can lessen resistance. Antibiotics are often given unnecessarily because of uncertainty about whether patients have bacterial infections. Health authorities have tried to prevent unnecessary prescribing through public education, prescriber education, feedback to prescribers and financial incentives with mixed results. Healthcare is a complex adaptive system: its behaviour changes over time in a way that cannot be predicted by looking at individual components. System modelling can help us understand complex systems, predict changes and test changes before implementing change in the real world.

The aim of this study is to select strategies for the reduction of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing based on systems modelling. This will include creating and validating systems models to understand the real-world system and to allow modelling of interventions, synthesising results and recommending intervention strategies. The project will involve learning how to write computer code to create and test system models. The modelling skills learned in the project will be valuable in academia, industry or public services.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, psychology, economics, social sciences, mathematical, engineering, pharmacy, microbiology or computer science 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:

The English Language Unit (ELU) 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 from the ELU

Funding Notes

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

Eligibility for both fees (£4327 for 2019/20) and maintenance (£15,009 for 2019/20) 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:


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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