Being a PhD student at the Unit

Glasgow Buchanan Street

Our dynamic and interactive research environment is ideal for anyone looking to work with, and learn from, colleagues from a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, public health medicine, nutrition and mathematics. We are part of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, which received an Athena SWAN Gold Award in 2018 in recognition of its commitment to tackling gender inequality.

There are lots of things to think about before applying for a PhD studentship, from eligibility to finances. This page is designed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions, and to help you decide whether our studentships offer the right opportunity for you.

Current studentship opportunity

Handling multiple outcomes in complex interventions

Duration/funding: 3 year funded
Supervisors: Professors Rod Taylor (co-primary supervisor), Ruth Dundas (co-primary supervisor), Dr Grace Dibben (secondary supervisor)
Closing Date: 15th August 2021
Interviews: w/c 6th September 2021

At the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, we have a particular focus on developing and applying cutting-edge research methods to understand how complex interventions influence health and wellbeing.

The nature of complex interventions, involving multifaceted components that may target multiple behaviours, require collection of several outcome measures to track participant responses. Assessment of multiple outcomes raises both practical and statistical challenges and there appears to have been little methodological innovation in handling multiple outcomes in the design and analysis of complex intervention trials. The application of more sophisticated statistical analysis methods, such as multivariate modelling, rank-based analysis, and win-ratio statistic, provide the opportunity to take advantage of the linked nature of multiple outcomes widely collected and reported in trials of complex interventions.

This three-year PhD project will take a methodological perspective and start with a scoping review to identify and explore statistical methods for handling multiple outcomes in trials. Following this there will be significant scope to shape the direction of the project and the successful candidate will have plenty of opportunity to develop their ideas in collaboration with the supervisory team. The co-primary supervisors will be Professors Rod Taylor and Ruth Dundas, the secondary supervisor will be Dr Grace Dibben, with other advisors from the Unit or as appropriate to the successful candidate’s interests and skills.

You will have a 2.1 honours degree or above in a relevant, quantitative discipline, as well as a Masters degree (or equivalent experience) that has provided you with relevant statistical expertise (e.g. medical statistics, epidemiology, population health science, or equivalent).

What is offered?

On offer is a University of Glasgow funded three-year studentship with support of fees at UK home student rate

To support our students’ development, we provide training in all aspects of research and in transferable academic and generic skills. Find out more about being a PhD student at the Unit. We are based within the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, and work closely with our colleagues across both the College of Social Sciences and the College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences. The preferred start date is 1 October 2021.

During your PhD, you will:

  • Receive a tax-free stipend of at least £15,609 per annum and a research/training/conference allowance of £1,300 per annum (UK residents only).
  • Receive thorough training in both generic research skills and transferable skills, as well as project-specific training.

Work in a Unit with a strong commitment to student wellbeing and pastoral support.

How to apply

Candidates are required to prepare a two A4 page draft research proposal. Please contact rod.taylor@glasgow.ac.uk or grace.dibben@glasgow.ac.uk to discuss your proposal prior to submission. Note that we do not expect a polished research proposal, but you should attempt to demonstrate that you have read around the subject and have some initial ideas of how you might approach this research.

Apply through Postgraduate Admissions. Please ensure you apply to MVLS - MRC/CSO PhD Studentship.

The full set of supporting documents noted below are required to be uploaded at the point of application:

  • CV/resume
  • Cover letter
  • Degree certificate and transcripts (if you have graduated prior to 1 July 2015)
  • Passport
  • Two A4 page research proposal
  • Reference 1 (a full reference should be submitted from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability from your most recent study/programme)
    Reference 2 (a full reference should be submitted from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability)

Once you have submitted your application, please email Susan Wilkie to confirm. General enquiries regarding the application process can also be directed to Susan.

What is the application process like?

Candidates are required to prepare a two A4 page research proposal. Please contact the supervisor of your proposed topic to discuss your proposal prior to submission. Applications should be submitted to Postgraduate Admissions. Please ensure you apply to MVLS - MRC/CSO PhD Studentship.

The full set of supporting documents noted below are required to be uploaded at the point of application:

  • CV/Resume
  • Degree certificate (if you have graduated prior to 1 July 2015)
  • Passport
  • Two A4 page research proposal (This should have been discussed with the Programme Leader/supervisor prior to submission).
  • Reference 1(a full reference should be submitted from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability from your most recent study/programme) Reference 2 (a full reference should be submitted from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability)
  • Transcripts 

Once you have submitted your application, please email susan.wilkie@glasgow.ac.uk to confirm. General enquiries regarding the application process can also be directed to this email address.

Interviews

Interviews normally consist of a prepared exercise, followed by a question and answer session. The primary aim of the interview is for you to give our panel further information about your interests, motivations and your research proposal, but also to give you the opportunity to ask questions and get to know our team. In the interview, you should:

  • Be ready to talk about your research proposal
  • Be able to demonstrate your personal attributes and skills that make you a good candidate for a studentship – if possible use a range of examples (not just academic)
  • Be able to communicate your previous academic interests and achievements and explain why these are relevant to the advertised PhD
  • Use any opportunity to show your strengths but also be able to show how you are able to overcome weaknesses
  • Ask your own questions.

Why choose MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit?

As a PhD student at our unit, you will:

  • Work in a unit where the majority of staff are focused on research and postgraduate training, alongside almost 130 researchers, clinical fellows, administrative and technical staff, postgraduate research students and visiting fellows
  • Receive a thorough training in both generic research skills and transferable skills, as well as subject-specific training
  • Work in a Unit with a strong commitment to student wellbeing and pastoral support, via two postgraduate student convenors who not only conduct more formal progress meetings, input into training and, if necessary, assist with admin and formalities, but are also available to discuss any more personal issues that are impacting on a student's life or academic progress
  • Be encouraged to attend all unit events, meetings and activities
  • Be registered as a student in either the College of Social Sciences or the College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences.
  • Be part of the University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing
  • Work in a unit that receives joint core funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Scottish Chief Scientist’s Office (CSO).

Get in touch

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about PhD studentships – don’t hesitate to get in touch by email Susan.Wilkie@glasgow.ac.uk.

Hear from our current PhD students

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