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Working with complex systems, interventions, and inequalities in the post-Covid landscape

   Faculty of Public Health and Policy

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  Prof C May, Prof F Stevenson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Deadline: 19th June 2020
Interview: 1st July and 7th July 2020
Duration: 3 years, commencing October 2020
Stipend: £17,803

NIHR ARC North Thames and the NIHR SPHR invite applications for its jointly-funded 3-year PhD studentship to begin September 2020. Supervisors are drawn from across both the NIHR ARC North Thames and NIHR SPHR. This collaborative initiative allows unparalleled access to leading applied and public health experts, supervisors who are leaders in their field, channels for dissemination of research, participation in bespoke training, and a strong network and community of graduate students and researchers.

NIHR ARC North Thames
NIHR ARC North Thames is a research partnership committed to identifying the health and care problems that most concern everyone in our region, designing innovative research in response and then quickly putting findings into practice. Led by Professor Rosalind Raine (UCL), the ARC is a collaboration of 50+ partners including universities, NHS trusts, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, UCLPartners, patient/public organisations and industry.

NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)
The NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR - is a unique collaboration between leading academic centres in England. Established in 2012, NIHR SPHR aims to conduct high quality research to build the evidence base for effective public health practice. Our research looks at what works practically to improve population health and reduce health inequalities, can be applied across the country, and better meets the needs of policymakers, practitioners and the public.

Project Description
The research problem: Much is known about how complex systems in health and healthcare react to disruption and turbulence. Much less is known about the processes through which they transform themselves, recover, and restabilise, or about the mechanisms that promote recovery and restabilisation. This studentship offers an opportunity to do novel research that fills this important gap, and that will have national and international relevance.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put in train a system-wide natural experiment in health policy and practice reconfiguration and implementation. Across London, leaders in Public Health England are beginning to imagine the post-Covid-19 landscape for public health and healthcare systems. At the same time, agencies are beginning to formulate strategic plans that aim to reconfigure the delivery of public health services and interventions in new and perhaps more sensitive post-Covid-19 contexts. An important component of thinking about healthcare, post-Covid-19 is that it will increasingly rely on digital delivery. This studentship is to explore the ways that different kinds of inequalities shape people’s interactions with digital healthcare and the effects that this has on their interactions with health services more generally. It has long been argued that there is a ‘digital divide’ between people with the skills and resources to exploit digital services and those without them. But it is also likely that other inequalities will also play an important part in the experiences of people using these services. We might also see unintended consequences, as decreasing access to face to face services could create ‘service deserts’ in which important elements of care simply become less available. The studentship will investigate how tensions between adaptive change and re-stabilisation in public health are worked out in contexts characterised by multiple structural and spatial inequalities in both populations and the delivery of services.

• Candidates should hold a Master’s in a relevant discipline (or complete their Master’s by September 2020) and have a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in their first degree.
• All applicants require excellent written and verbal communication skills and should be willing to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams.
• Due to funding restrictions, applicants must be UK/EU nationals. Please see UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA - for criteria.
• Applicants should preferably have knowledge of the UK health and care system.

How to apply
Your application should consist of:
• A CV (qualifications, work experience, publications, presentations and prizes) & contact details of two academic referees.
• A personal statement (300 words) describing your suitability for the proposed project including how your research experience, skills and interests relate to the topic.
• A 1-page proposal of how you would develop the PhD project that you are applying for.

For applications and enquiries, please email [Email Address Removed]
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