PhD Studentship in Diagnostic Test Evaluation Methodology - Evaluations of diagnostic tests in the presence of an imperfect reference standard and the health economic considerations

Newcastle University

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees and annual living expenses of £14,296. Also additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

January 2017 for 3 years.

Application closing date

The position will remain available until a suitable candidate is appointed. Early application is advised.


An exciting opportunity for a PhD student to be at the forefront of diagnostic test methodology research.  It will explore how to improve estimates of diagnostic accuracy and removal of bias.  It will then use value of information (VOI) analysis to estimate if the benefits of that research outweighs the time and cost required to carry out that research of that research. 

Expected steps:

  • Updating the latest systematic review on the methods used to evaluate a test when the reference standard is imperfect. 
  • Formally critiquing the methods identified and selecting the most promising techniques for further consideration
  • Applying and developing these methods to representative case studies
  • Assessing the magnitude and direction of any bias introduced
  • VOI analysis to estimate if the use of the identified method is efficient
  • Developing recommendations for implementing the various techniques for correcting for an imperfect reference standard, a topic of increasing importance in the age of molecular diagnostic tests, genomic medicine and companion diagnostic testing.


Newcastle University Research Excellence Academy

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Luke Vale, Institute of Health and Society
Dr Joy Allen, NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative Newcastle
Dr Kevin Wilson, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.  To do this please ‘Create a new account’.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed.  However, you will need to include the following information:

  • insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – health sciences as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code HS026 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV.  The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code HS026 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further details, please email Professor L Vale or Dr J Allen.

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Northern England