Developing one-stage models for meta-analysis of medical trials
One of three full-time MRC-funded PhD studentships available at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London (UCL) in the Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology (ICTM - https://www.ucl.ac.uk/clinical-trials-and-methodology/), commencing between July 2018 and September 2018 (by agreement).
You can find more information about each project at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/clinical-trials-and-methodology/education/phd/current-studentships
Project Modern medicine aims to be based on evidence, and the highest quality evidence comes from systematic review of randomised trials. At the heart of systematic review is meta-analysis, the statistical method for combination of evidence about treatment effects from multiple randomised trials. Meta-analysis is usually done in a two-stage process: first estimate treatment effects in all studies, then form a weighted average. However, two-stage meta-analysis is approximate and inaccurate in many settings, especially with binary outcome data. This project instead explores one-stage meta-analysis, where all the data are analysed in a single model. Various problems in frequentist one-stage meta-analysis have recently come to light. This project will explore these issues and ultimately aims to offer guidance on how these models should be fitted and to provide convenient software for doing so.
This project will all allow the student to develop skills in the analysis of data in medical research, and in the methodology of clinical trials. Brief details of each project are provided at the end of this advert and further details of each are available from Dr Andrew Copas – e-mail [Email Address Removed]. Dr Copas is also very happy to discuss projects with potential applicants, and to answer any queries about studying at the Institute.
You will join the group of PhD students within the ICTM at UCL. You will register for full-time MPhil/PhD study at UCL, and will benefit from the range of training provided through UCL.
The essential and desirable criteria you will have are as follows
• Have (or will have completed by September 2018) an MSc in a field relevant to the preferred research project, or equivalent experience together with a BSc in a quantitative discipline.
• Experience in statistical programming and use of statistical software such as Stata, to the level required by the preferred research project
• Good communication skills
• Interest in preferred research project, with some understanding of the issues it addresses
• Understanding of the principles of clinical trials, medical statistics, research methods, epidemiology and meta-analysis if relevant to the preferred project
• Clear articulation of the reasons to wish to undertake a PhD
• Ability to work independently and manage own time
• Work experience in statistics or medical research
• Publication record appropriate to work experience
Under research council regulations all candidates are also required to have been resident in the UK for the past three years and thereby qualify for home fees status. More details on eligibility can be found on the MRC website: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/studentship-guidance/student-eligibility-requirements/
How to apply The application requires
• your CV including contact details of two referees, and
• a letter explaining why you wish to study for a PhD in the ICTM at UCL and how you meet the essential and desirable criteria listed above.
To apply, please contact [Email Address Removed] or [Email Address Removed] to receive further details of the process.
In your letter you may express a preference for one of the above listed projects, and briefly explain your preference. If you wish alternatively to propose your own project then details of the project should be provided with your letter. Candidates are welcome to discuss any project ideas and supervisor recommendations with Dr Copas.
Please note that successful applicants will also be required to apply for MPhil/PhD admission via the UCL online application system.
For shortlisted candidates there will be an opportunity to discuss the nature of each project at interview.
Closing Date: 13th July 2018, 17:00 BST.
The studentships cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free maintenance stipend over three years. In 2017-2018 the stipend was £16,553, it may increase from September 2018.