PhD Project Title: The costs and benefits of introducing novel diagnostic and
communication technologies for STI control into mainstream
Principal Supervisor: Prof Ala Szczepura, Professor of Health Services Research, Division of
Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School.
Prof Stavros Petrou, Professor of Health Economics, Division of Health
Sciences, Warwick Medical School
Dr Leeza Osipenko, Senior Scientific Adviser, Scientific Advice Team,
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) & Honorary
Fellow Warwick Medical School
This three year studentship is funded by the Medical Research Council and comes with a tax
free stipend of £14,850 per annum. This studentship is open to UK Nationals, EEA/Swiss
migrant workers and non UK nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK who all have
three years ordinary residence in the UK prior to the start of the studentship.
We are looking for a bright, enthusiastic graduate to work with our expanding team of
multidisciplinary health service researchers and health economists based in Warwick Medical
School. The project sits within the Clinical and Public Health work stream of eSTI2
(www.esti2.org.uk), our large consortium of national research leaders in microbiology, statistics,
epidemiology, clinical medicine, public health, micro-engineering and human technology
interaction, which has been funded by a UKCRC Strategy Development Grant. You will be one
of six PhD studentships funded across the programme. You should have at least an upper
second class honours degree. For this project, you may be from a variety of academic
backgrounds including health services research, health economics, public health, systems
engineering and statistics.
Addressing one of the UK Government’s priorities for health, the eSTI2 Consortium aims to
reduce the high health and economic cost of STIs through the development and deployment of
rapid testing technologies that bring diagnosis and management strategies directly to the
patient. Connectivity with mobile phone mediated patient care should lessen the individual
consequences of infection. This new strategy will give people greater control of their personal
sexual health, and potentially reduce psychological morbidity and improve quality of life. This is
particularly important for young people. Community surveillance of STIs using mobile phone
diagnostics is novel and may facilitate improved public health interventions. The Consortium
will actively engage with Industry and evaluate their diagnostics and thus encourage the
generation of commercial wealth, intellectual property and revenue for industry and academic
partners alike. Mobile phone-linked diagnostics also have real potential for implementation in
developing world settings.
Your project will focus on early Health Technology Assessment (eHTA). This will form a
fundamental element in the final success of the programme. You will explore factors governing
cost-effective introduction of eSTI technologies in different scenarios addressing three main
activities: the development of an HTA evaluation framework; identification of key data
required for eHTA; modelling of the likely impact on costs, clinical benefits and other
outcomes following eSTI technology introduction; and collaboration in development
of recommendations for technology introduction. This will involve working closely scientists
developing the tests and associated telehealth connectivity, Health Protection Agency experts
in infection control, clinicians delivering STI treatments, and psychologists recording the views
and preferences of people who will use the service.
Key tasks will include:
reviewing published evidence on the economic burden of STIs: This will include the
cost of existing testing/care pathways and surveillance systems; the key health
outcomes for testing & surveillance; and aspects of the patient pathway which
require improvement. This element of the research may include interviews with
selected experts and key national stakeholders in addition to literature review.
developing a health technology assessment framework for early appraisal of the likely
impact on costs, effectiveness and broader social & ethical implications of eSTI
technology implementation. This element of the research will include working with
specialists across the consortium.
modelling of the likely costs and benefits of eSTI implementation at a national level. This
will include developing a model, populating the model with data, and generating
implementation insights. This will include integrating outputs from other workpackages in
the programme and working with selected national experts to identify data.
assisting in the development of published guidelines for an approved pathway for
adoption of innovative models of STI care into NHS practice.
Successful completion of the PhD will leave you well placed to become a leader in the growing
field of research which intersects new technologies, health economics, diagnostics, and health
At Warwick you will be supervised by:
Ala Szczepura, Professor of Health Services Research, with special interest in HTA
Stavros Petrou, Professor of Health Economics, with special interest in economic
modelling and health-related quality of life
And co–supervised by Dr Leeza Osipenko, Scientific Advice Consultancy, NICE, with special
interest in technology appraisal and simulation
You will work closely with other consortium colleagues as relevant to each stage of the project
and benefit from the expertise of the consortium members and institutions. The eSTI2
consortium work is now well established and we are aiming for the studentship to commence in
Contact details for application enquiries:
For an informal discussion please email the lead project supervisor:
Professor Ala Szczepura, firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for applications: 30 June 2012
Interview Date: Friday 6 July
Health services research, new diagnostic technology, economic evaluation
In brief, candidates are required to satisfy two principal eligibility conditions (Residence and
British nationals who have lived in the UK all their lives are eligible.
Also eligible are non-British nationals who have settled status AND have been resident
in the UK for 3 years immediately prior to the date of the start of the course.
EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years
immediately prior to the date of start of the course;
EU nationals not resident in the UK are eligible for a fees-only award. In the event of
receiving such an award, you would have to make separate arrangements to defray the
costs of accommodation and subsistence.
EEA and Swiss nationals (EEA migrant workers) should refer to the full guidelines to
Those who have a 1st or a 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant field are eligible.
Those who have a 2.2 and an additional Masters degree in a relevant field may be
Those who have a 2.2 and at least three years post-graduate experience in a relevant
field may be eligible.
Those with degrees abroad (as well as, perhaps, postgraduate experience) may be
eligible if their qualifications are deemed equivalent to any of the above
Full eligibility can be viewed on the MRC website.