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Applications open for three funded PhD opportunities (deadline: 16 August 2021)

20 July 2021 

Applications are now open for three exciting three-year funded PhD opportunities at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol. The deadline is Monday 16 August 2021. Summary details about each of the projects is given below and applications can be made via the Find a PHD website

Spine of black book cover with text PhD embossed in gold


3-year PhD in Mathematical modelling: Vaccination strategies for controlling COVID-19

The University of Bristol is offering a three-year funded PhD studentship for an individual with strong quantitative skills and an interest in statistical methods and mathematical modelling for infectious disease research. You will develop mathematical models of SARS-CoV-2 infection and investigate the long term vaccination strategies needed for COVID-19 disease control.

This studentship offers an excellent opportunity to train in mathematical modelling with experienced supervisors Dr Hannah Christensen and Dr Ellen Brooks Pollock. You will further benefit from co-supervision from Professor Isabel Oliver, Director of the National Infection Service of Public Health England. 

You will be based at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation in the department of Population Health Sciences, a leading centre for research excellence. You will also join the Bristol Infectious Disease Dynamics Group, a group of mathematical modellers with internationally recognised work in a number of areas including COVID-19, STIs, Hepatitis, tuberculosis, Meningococcal infection and others. This studentship will begin by October 2021.

Further details and how to apply.

3-year PhD in Co-production/implementation: Co-producing sexual health services with African and Caribbean heritage members of the public to reverse HIV inequalities

The University of Bristol is offering a three-year funded PhD studentship for an individual with strong social science/qualitative/mixed methods skills and an interest in co-production, sexual health and addressing HIV health inequalities experienced by people of African and Caribbean Heritage.

The studentship will be linked to NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation’s pioneering Common Ambition Bristol (CAB) project which aims to tackle HIV health inequalities, by people of African and Caribbean heritage working in equal partnership with sexual health service staff, to co-produce sexual health services to ensure they fit the needs of African and Caribbean heritage communities. By working together, sharing responsibility, decision-making and power, the project aims to co-design and co-produce bespoke HIV testing and support services to increase HIV awareness, HIV testing, while reducing HIV stigma.

This studentship offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate how sexual health interventions can be co-produced and co-implemented to optimise their acceptability and effectiveness. It will be an opportunity to develop methodological innovations to evaluate the co-implementation of interventions with experienced supervisors Dr Jeremy Horwood, Dr Michelle Farr and Dr Fiona Fox. This studentship offers further benefit from co-supervision from Professor Isabel Oliver, Director of the National Infection Service of Public Health England.

This studentship offers will be based at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation in the University of Bristol’s department of Population Health Sciences, a leading centre for research excellence. This studentship will begin by October 2021.

Further details and how to apply. For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Jeremy Horwood.

3-year PhD in Behavioural Science: Novel methods of developing health behaviour change interventions

The University of Bristol is offering a three-year funded PhD studentship for an individual with a strong academic record relevant to behavioural science and an interest in developing engaging and effective interventions. You will work directly with UK Health Security Agency to develop, adapt and optimise interventions to reduce the transmission of disease.

This studentship offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to methodology in this important area. You will apply and develop the Person-Based Approach to intervention development, and will master skills in a variety of relevant methodologies such as systematic reviewing and mixed methods evaluation.

This studentship is an excellent opportunity to train with highly experienced supervisors Professor Lucy Yardley and Professor Richard Amlot. You will further benefit from co-supervision from Professor Isabel Oliver, Director of the National Infection Service of Public Health England. 

You will be based at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol, a leading centre for research excellence. This studentship will begin from October 2021. The student will be registered with Population Health Science with members of the supervisory team from Psychological Science.

Further details and how to apply.


Further information

About the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit [HPRU] in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at the University of Bristol 

The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol is one of 14 HPRUs across England, part of a £58.7 million investment by the NIHR to protect the health of the nation. 

The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation is a partnership between Public Health England and University of Bristol, in collaboration with MRC Biostatistics Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and University of the West of England. 

Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research that is used by PHE to keep the public safe from current and emerging public health threats.

About the NIHR 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.