|Placed On:||31st March 2023|
|Closes:||15th May 2023|
Supervisor: Dr. Mirjam Allik
Care experienced children deserve the chance to live healthy lives just as everyone else. In Scotland, about 15,000 children are in care every year and recent evidence across the UK shows that they have poorer health compared to other children, including higher mortality and avoidable hospitalisations. However, as this evidence is generally cross-sectional, we don't know if or how poor health itself might contribute to the risk of entering care, which health conditions contribute most to that risk, or how subsequent care histories influence health.
This PhD project will explore if and how maternal health and health behaviours during pregnancy (e.g. smoking), and early childhood health and preventive health behaviours (e.g. vaccinations), are associated with entering care in Scotland. It will form a part of larger Children’s Health in Care in Scotland (CHiCS) project that aims to improve health outcomes for care experienced children and reduce health inequalities.
The project will link administrative data on childhood social care to birth, hospitalisation and vaccination records for children born between 1991-2004 and follow their health from birth up to age five. The proposal is novel as it captures the health and health behaviours of the child and mother prior to care. Longitudinal methods, such as multistate models and event history analysis, will be used to consider 1) whether maternal health and health behaviours, early childhood health and treatment adherence predict entering into care and 2) to estimate the effect of different care placements (such as the number, length, and type of placement) on early childhood health.
Given the ongoing review of the care system by the Scottish Government, this research is very timely. The results can motivate interventions for additional support to families with higher risks of family breakdown related to childhood ill health or poor treatment adherence and prepare social services for the likely health needs of children entering care.
The prospective student will be encouraged and supported to participate in knowledge exchange and engagement activities, submit conference abstracts, and publish their first research papers during the life of the PhD.
The student will be hosted at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU), a leading MRC/CSO funded public health research unit. At SPHSU, we are looking to develop the next generation of highly skilled researchers in social science-led population health research. Our Unit has a particular focus on developing and using cutting-edge methods to understand how social, behavioural, economic, political, and environmental factors influence health. Our dynamic and interactive research environment is made up of almost 130 researchers, clinical fellows, administrative and technical staff, postgraduate research students and visiting fellows. It is an ideal environment for anyone looking to work with, and learn from, colleagues from a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, public health medicine, nutrition, and mathematics.
To support our students’ development, we provide training in all aspects of research, including specialised training in methods. The student will benefit from the University’s wider training environment, such as a doctoral training programme that covers research skills, professional development, and postgraduate seminar series. The Unit regularly hosts research seminars and internal conferences, and the student would be encouraged to attend all unit events, meetings, and activities.
The Unit has a strong commitment to student wellbeing and pastoral support, with a mentoring scheme and two postgraduate student convenors.
Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The desirable criteria include:
Please note that all applicants must also meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.
This studentship is jointly funded by SGSSS and the Medical Research Council. The scholarship is available as a +3 (3-year PhD) or a 1+3 (Masters year and 3 year PhD) studentship depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process, however you can access guidance here to help you decide on which to apply for. The programme will commence in October 2023. The full ESRC studentship package includes, as advised by ESRC:
Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £750 per year.
How to apply
Applications will be ranked by an internal institutional selection panel, and you will be notified if you have been shortlisted for interview on or around 21st April 2023. Interviews will take place online on the week of 15th May 2023. This studentship award is subject to the successful candidate securing admission to a PhD programme within the University of Glasgow. The successful candidate will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme.
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