Evaluating services for older adults with multimorbidity across health and social care

Department Name:
MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL

Supervisors names and email addresses:
1) Dr Daniel Davis (Daniel.davis@ucl.ac.uk)

Funding Status:
Directly Funded Project (UK and EU Students Only)
Stipend: £17,803

Application Deadline: 5 January 2020

Interview date: 29 January 2020

Duration: 3 years, full time

Project Description:
Health for older people exists on a wide continuum of functional states, from active and independent to frail and in institutional care. Understanding the determinants and implications of this huge (and widening) health inequality in older people is a major public health challenge.

The Delirium and Population Health Informatics Cohort (DELPHIC) prospectively follows up a sample age ≥70 in Camden across primary, secondary, community mental health and social care. This measures the total health and social care use within a single health economy. As such, DELPHIC offers the opportunity to evaluate health services in an integrated way. Quantifying the economic impact of longitudinal changes in health states – particularly before and after hospital admission – would provide novel insights into effective health services for older people.

This project seeks to evaluate existing service models for older patients (e.g. integrated care, reablement, hospital at home) across diverse settings (rural/urban) for a range of outcomes (e.g. hospitalisation, functional decline, social care use). We will adopt comparable approaches using realist evaluation incorporating some qualitative but mainly quantitative data leading to an economic evaluation as part of this PhD.

Data collection for DELPHIC started in 2017 – there would be ongoing opportunities for students to get involved with the primary evaluation of DELPHIC participants (training for patient contact would be provided). Students would also be encouraged to collaborate with NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber on related projects (e.g. CARE 75+).

The major contribution to knowledge from this project will be through undertaking health services evaluation in a uniquely integrated dataset that DELPHIC offers in the same individuals across primary, secondary, mental health and social care.

All candidates should hold a Master’s qualification (or complete their Master’s by September 2019) in an appropriate discipline and have a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in their first degree. Applicants should preferably have knowledge of the UK health and care system. All applicants are required to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They should also be willing to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams.

Project-specific skills and experience required:


Interest in cohort epidemiology, ageing, multimorbidity, quantitative data management (e.g. with Stata), health services evaluation, health economics evaluation.

Enquiries email name and address: Dr Daniel Davis – daniel.davis@ucl.ac.uk

Training opportunities
PhD students will be entitled to the full range of PhD training opportunities at their host institution. In addition, all PhD students will benefit from the training provided by the NIHR ARC North Thames Academy (The Academy). The Academy brings together PhD students from across ARC North Thames, to create a community of students training in applied health research. The Academy works alongside each host institution’s graduate training programme to equip students with the skills needed to work at the interface of academia and health services.

Our doctoral programme focuses on practical aspects of applied health research, such as the skills required to undertake research in health care and public health settings, to engage patients and the public in research, and to navigate relevant ethical and research governance approval systems. In addition, we aim to provide students with an understanding of how their work fits into current NHS structures and applied public health research environments. PhD students will be expected to attend and present at scientific meetings aimed at disseminating the findings of ARC research.

Publication and wider dissemination:
It is expected that results of the PhD research will be publishable in good quality, peer-reviewed academic journals and communicated at conferences. The research would also be expected to generate outputs tailored to applied health research, public health practitioner, and policy-making audiences.

Candidates should hold a Master’s qualification 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. Applicants should preferably have knowledge of the UK health and care system. 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 refer to UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) for the criteria.

How to apply
If you have queries about potential projects or would like to discuss these in more detail, please contact the appropriate supervisors by email. In case of any difficulties in making contact, please email ARC.academy@ucl.ac.uk 

Your application should consist of:

  • A CV (to include qualifications, work experience, publications, presentations and prizes) plus contact details of two academic referees (references will be taken up for all shortlisted candidates).
  • 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.

Please send your application to ARC.academy@ucl.ac.uk

Deadline: 5 January 2020
Interviews: 29 January 2020
3 years, full time
Stipend: £17,803