Apply For PhD Studentship in Health Systems and Policy Research Funded by NIHR

Apply For PhD Studentship in Health Systems and Policy Research Funded by NIHR

Three-year PhD post for students from low- or middle-income countries funded by NIHR

The Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, within the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, is offering a three-year PhD studentship for eligible students from low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) funded by NIHR. This is part of a large global health systems and policy research programmed funded by NIHR examining health systems fragmentation in Latin America and India.

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This post is only available for students from official development assistance (ODA)-eligible countries. This includes most LMICs, but potential candidates should check the list of ODA eligible countries. Please note students from the UK, EU, Japan or USA, are not eligible for this role. Students from Latin America or India are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject (public health, epidemiology, health economics, health data science, health policy and planning, health financing) is highly advantageous.

The studentship will be funded for three years with a tax-free bursary of £22,000 per annum. Tuition fees, at the rate applicable to UK Home students, are covered by NIHR. Suitably qualified students non-eligible for home tuition fees are welcome to apply but will be responsible for paying the difference between the home and overseas fee rates. Eligibility criteria for home tuition are outlined on the fee status page.

Summary of Research

The way health systems are structured and financed has major implications for the quality and comprehensiveness of the services they deliver, whether patients use those services, how much they cost and who pays, and whether they deliver improvements in health outcomes. In many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) health financing is highly fragmented. This can produce different health sub-systems within a country, each with different organizations, eligibility criteria to access services, benefit packages and premiums, payment systems and mechanisms to manage financial risk across patient populations. This fragmentation can negatively impact health system goals including ensuring access to high quality care to all patients, irrespective of their ability to pay.

This PhD studentship will contribute to knowledge generation on health system fragmentation through a range of research activities across four countries which have high levels of poverty and inequality: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and India. The proposed research programme will contribute to quantifying the nature and variation of financing fragmentation in the four focus countries, investigating how financing fragmentation affects health system goals, including improved access and quality of health services at lower cost to patients, and evaluating the impact of key health system reforms on fragmentation and health system goals.

The work will be predominantly of a quantitative nature, and the successful candidate is expected to develop strong analytical skills over the course of the PhD. A familiarity in data analyses using routine health data, quasi-experimental methods, or policy evaluation would be advantageous. Spanish or Portuguese language skills would be welcome.

There will be opportunities for travel and engagement with country-level partners. The successful candidate will be supported through mentorship by project leaders, and there are opportunities for specific training programmes to build key research skills. Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students’ training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

How to Apply

Please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Dr Thomas Hone by email on It is advisable you get in contact before applying to discuss relevant tuition fee support.

Imperial College PhD entry requirements must be met. Informal discussions prior to application are welcome and for any further information please contact Dr Thomas Hone on

Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: 12 August 2022, 5pm.

Start date: 1 October 2022

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