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Whose preferences should count in health care decision making and why?

   The Yunus Centre

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  Prof Helen Mason, Prof Rachel Baker, Dr Linda Fenocchi  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Reference Number: YCSBH-2023-001

The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at GCU is offering a three-year funded doctoral programme in health economics with a focus on preference elicitation methods.

Incorporating the views of patients is an accepted part of health care decision making. However, when eliciting preferences for health states used in economic evaluation to inform the health technology assessment decision making process, we favour the use of general population preferences. The arguments for this being that the general population are the payers either through taxation or insurance.

In this PhD project, research will focus on how patient and public preferences for health states differ and why. One route of investigation may be to consider how the mode of preference elicitation affects values, for example are some of the differences exacerbated by the use of trade-offs involving life expectancy (or risk of death) and the narrow focus on health related quality of life in the estimation of health state utility values? Using these methods patient values are usually expected to be higher than general public values – perhaps due to patients’ adaptation to the health states in question. If treatments yielding quality of life improvements were valued using a different numeraire (e.g. money), would the same difference between patient and public values still be observed?

This PhD will explore the conceptual and methodological arguments for patient and public valuation of health states and/or health care and design an empirical study to elicit and compare values. In light of the findings, the research will then go on to seek the views of patients and members of the general public on how best to reconcile the values of both groups in the decision making process.  

Candidates should have a minimum of a first degree and/or a Masters degree in economics or related subject. Candidates are requested to submit a motivation letter indicating how your skills fit the requirements and what you hope to get from the PhD project.

Supervisor Research Profiles

Prof Helen Mason - https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/persons/helen-mason 

Prof Rachel Baker - https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/persons/rachel-baker

Dr Linda Fenocchi - https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/persons/linda-fenocchi

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1st October 2023.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

Applicants should apply using this link: https://evision.prod.gcu.tribalsits.com/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=D27NURSNGFT&code2=0038 Quoting Reference: YCSBH-2023-001

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: Research Applications or for more information please see the Application Process.

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four to six weeks from the closing date. 

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: [Email Address Removed]


The GCU studentship is worth at least £22,548 per year for three years. The studentship covers payment of tuition fees (£4,880 for Home/RUK students or £16,800 for EU/International students) plus an annual stipend of £17,668 for Home/RUK students or an annual scholarship of £6,548 for EU/International students.   

EU/International candidates of outstanding calibre may be awarded a studentship of £34,468 per year for three years. The International Enhanced Scholarship covers payment of tuition fees (£16,800) plus an annual stipend of £17,668.

For further details please see our Fees and Funding and Research Scholarships and Studentships webpages.  

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