PhD Studentship in the Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research: Experimental designs for assessing learning curves associated with complex interventions

University of Leeds

Faculty of Medicine and Health
Funding: LICTR scholarship

Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Walwyn, Dr Olympia Papachristofi, Prof Linda Sharples

A PhD studentship is available to UK and EU citizens. The studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,057 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to demonstrate they can pay the difference in fees.

Please note that this project is one of 4 advertised in LICTR. Only one of these projects will be allocated funding and this will be determined by the strongest applicant and their project preference.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (mathematics, statistics, psychology). Ideally candidates should have, or be about to complete, an MSc in a relevant subject.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.


The candidate will (i) review relevant methodological literature and re-analyse trial and other datasets available to the supervisory team; (ii) consider different trial design options and contrast these analytically or by simulation for relative efficiency and other operating characteristics; (iii) explore practical considerations, applying alternatives in the context of real-examples; and (iv) explore analysis implications, providing recommendations for primary analyses of trials using the proposed experimental designs. 


Complex healthcare interventions are widespread within the NHS. Examples include psychotherapy, surgery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Yet little attention has been paid to developing formal experimental designs to evaluate them, limiting the questions that can be addressed in randomized clinical trials. One class of design needed is that which enables the effects of interventions, professionals, time and training/experience to be separately estimated. In this context, the candidate will re-analyse existing datasets, consider different trial design options and explore practical and analysis considerations. This project sits within a larger programme of work around developing experimental designs to evaluate complex healthcare interventions.

How to apply:

To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Tuesday 6 December 2016

If you have already applied for other scholarships using the Faculty Scholarship Application form you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email to inform us you would also like to be considered for these scholarship projects.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to 

Closing date for this studentship is Tuesday 6 December 2016

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