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PhD Studentship: Causal Inference for the Analysis of Cancer Registry Data

University of Sheffield - Health Economics and Decision Science, School of Health and Related Research

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: EU Students, International Students, Self-funded Students, UK Students
Funding amount: at the Research Council Doctoral Stipend rate, currently £14,999 for 2019/20
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st October 2019
Closes: 30th November 2019

1, funded by Senior Research Fellowship held by Nicholas Latimer, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and BresMed Health Solutions Ltd

Proposed start date: September 2020 (latest)

We are offering a fully-funded, full-time, 3.5 years PhD studentship in Epidemiology, Biostatistics or Health Economics. The position is funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) and BresMed Health Solutions Ltd. It is based in the Health Economics and Decision Science (HEDS) section of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield. We welcome applications to undertake research into the use of causal inference methods to analyse cancer registry datasets.

Large United Kingdom cancer registry datasets (e.g. the Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) dataset) can be linked to other healthcare data. The student would access either English or Scottish data and investigate the use of cutting-edge causal inference methods to estimate the comparative effectiveness of cancer treatments in practice. This research is of particular relevance given the planned use of SACT to inform reimbursement decisions for treatments placed in the English Cancer Drugs Fund. You will be supervised by Dr Nicholas Latimer and Emeritus Professor Ron Akehurst. The supervisory team will be supplemented by experts from around the world, offering the opportunity to develop international collaborations.

ScHARR has over 300 multidisciplinary staff, and 450 postgraduate students from more than 50 countries around the world. It provides an internationally recognised programme of health research, knowledge transfer and teaching.

For more information about ScHARR visit:

YCR works in partnership with researchers, scientists and clinicians, the NHS, Public Health England and other health organisations and charities to make life-changing improvements in cancer care. This PhD should act as a catalyst for change to facilitate the delivery of better cancer services in Yorkshire and further afield. Dr Nicholas Latimer is a Senior YCR Fellow.

For more information about YCR visit:

BresMed Health Solutions Ltd is an independent health economic and outcomes research consultancy with more than 150 staff based on the UK, India, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. It offers services in evidence review, evidence development, communication and strategy and insight.

For more information about BresMed visit:

Entry Requirements: 

  • Honours Bachelor degree (2.1 or above) in a relevant subject;
  • MSc in epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, medical statistics, applied statistics or related subject OR equivalent experience;
  • Strong computer skills including use of statistical software packages, e.g. Stata, R or SAS;
  • Strong interest in applying statistical thinking and methods to problems in health-related fields;
  • Good communication skills;
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills;
  • Ability to work on own initiative and in a multidisciplinary team;

How to apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here:

Please clearly state the title of the studentship and the prospective main supervisor (Dr Nicholas Latimer), and select ScHARR as the department. 

Please also include:

  • Outline of your proposed PhD study (approximately 3 pages of A4);
  • Covering letter explaining why you wish to apply for this studentship;
  • Your CV;

Additional Funding Information

The studentship will include tuition fees at the home/EU/international student rate plus an annual maintenance grant (at the Research Council Doctoral Stipend rate, currently £14,999 for 2019/20). There is also an annual Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 to cover expenses such as conference attendance, training courses, equipment.

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