PhD Studentship: Development and Initial Evaluation of a Complex Package of Care for Knee Pain

University of Nottingham - School of Medicine

Supervisors: Dr A Abhishek, Professor Roshan Das Nair, Dr Michelle Hall

Funding: NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre

Project location:  NIHR Nottingham BRC, Academic Rheumatology, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital Campus, University of Nottingham, NG5 1PB.

Project details

Over 20% community dwelling adults suffer with knee pain which is most frequently caused by osteoarthritis. People with knee pain receive fragmented care, with initial self-management using over the counter analgesics e.g. paracetamol, topical NSAID gels, and nutraceuticals etc., and occasional  GP consultations which may result in advice to continue the same treatments, prescription of stronger pain killers, encouragement to exercise and lose weight, or referral to physiotherapy.

The study will involve developing and testing the fidelity and acceptability of individual components of a non-pharmacological package of care for knee pain, testing their acceptability when delivered as a complex package of care and comparing this to acceptability of analgesics for knee pain. This will be tested in a six-month pilot randomised controlled study.

It is expected that the student will contribute to conducting interview studies, qualitative data analysis, designing and running a pilot randomised controlled trial, and quantitative data analysis.   

This project will give the successful applicant the opportunity to learn skills in: 

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Design and conduct of feasibility/pilot clinical trials
  • Quantitative research methods

This project will involve mixed methods; the successful candidate could come from a variety of backgrounds including but not restricted to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, social sciences. 

This study is being supported by the newly established Nottingham NIHR BRC and will benefit from collaborations within the BRC and the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre.

The studentship would start January 2018 but can be started earlier if the candidate prefers. A later start date could be agreed for the right candidate. The studentship includes payment of tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum.  International students are welcome, but they have to self-fund the difference between the Home/EU and international fee.

Applicants must have at a minimum of a UK 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. A relevant Master’s degree and/or relevant clinical or other work experience would be an advantage (not essential).

The University of Nottingham is the top 1% of global universities and is ranked eighth in the UK on a measure of ‘research power’, with more than 80% of research rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. The University of Nottingham also offers a world-class research training environment for postgraduate students, including an excellent range of support and services.

General information about the Department(s)/Institution(s) can be found at:

School of Medicine:

Division of Rheumatology Orthopaedics and Dermatology:

Arthritis UK Pain Centre:

Informal enquiries can be addressed by email to Dr B Millar

To apply, students should send a CV, cover letter explaining why they would like the opportunity to study for this PhD and include a CV, an academic transcript and the names and addresses of two academic referees to

Interviews will take place on 30th October 2017.

Please quote the following reference when applying:

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Midlands of England