Studentship_advert

					                       RESEARCH STUDENTSHIP OR BURSARY
                                   FURTHER PARTICULARS

Research studentships are offered to students wishing to undertake a PhD or MRes programme
on a full-time basis. All studentships are highly competitive and you should ensure (and
demonstrate) that there is a good match between your own qualifications and interests and those
being sought for the particular studentship.

Research Institute where      Primary Care and Health Sciences (RPCH)
studentship will be held
Studentship reference         PCH2007-04
(allocated by Graduate
School)
Web link to any further       RPCH Research Institute:
information (eg Research      http://www.keele.ac.uk/research/pchs/
Institute)
Research topic or field -     Modelling of risks for chronic musculoskeletal disability using
title                         linked consultation and survey data
Research topic or field –     Refer to project and PhD studentship description below
full description (or attach
document)
Available from (date)         September 2007

Funding support available     Funding for three years to cover fees for PhD registration
– Fees, stipend, duration     (2007/08 rates - home/EU rates: £3250pa) and a research
                              studentship stipend of currently £12,600 per annum for
                              2007/08 (part funded by Medical Research Council).
Source of funding             Keele University

Eligibility criteria          Relevant first degree and/or Masters in statistics, mathematics,
                              or similar subject.
Terms and conditions of       Fees provided at EU rates only, Non-EU students would be
studentship                   required to pay the additional overseas fees (currently
                              £7000pa) themselves.
Number of studentships        1
available
Application details           In order to be considered for a studentship, an application form
                              for PhD study “Application Form Postgraduate Research
                              Degrees” must be completed plus an additional “Application
                              form for a studentship or bursary” indicating that you wish to
                              apply for this studentship (use studentship reference number
                              above) and detailing your suitability for the award.
                              Full details of application procedures for study are on the Keele
                              website www.keele.ac.uk/gradschool or contact The Graduate
                              School for a prospectus and application form (Graduate
                              School, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5AZ tel: 01782
                              584368, email: gradschool@keele.ac.uk )
                                                                                                  1
     Closing date for               Friday 22 June 2007
     applications
     Contact for further            Dr Kelvin Jordan
     information and to whom        Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre
     applications will be sent      k.p.jordan@cphc.keele.ac.uk




       Modelling of risks for chronic musculoskeletal disability using linked
                            consultation and survey data
                    Supervisors: Dr Kelvin Jordan, Dr Umesh Kadam, Prof Peter Jones
                                    Project advisor: Prof Peter Croft
                      Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Keele University

Planned Start Date          September 2007
Funding Status              Fully funded for 3 years, full-time. Student Stipend of £12,600pa (tax free)
                            plus fees paid at UK/EU rates (part funded by Medical Research Council).

Project Outline

Suffering from other morbidities (comorbidity) is a major risk factor for disability in people with chronic
disease. Modelling of the potential for prevention of disability in older people needs to account for the
co-occurrence of multiple morbidities and the way in which this interacts with lifestyle, demographic,
social and environmental risks. Recent improvements in routine electronic recording of general practice
consultation information now offers an opportunity for modelling patterns of comorbidity over time.

The studentship will specifically concern the development of advanced statistical models of comorbidity
over time using primary care consultation data, and examine the influence of different patterns of
comorbidity on future disabling joint pain and its interaction with other risks for disabling joint pain in
older people. This project will also contribute to knowledge by developing novel statistical methods of
deriving patterns from longitudinal data. The modelling will take into account occurrence and severity of
comorbidity, as well as accounting for changing patterns of comorbidity over time. It is envisaged that
methods including forms of latent class analysis will be used and compared to derive statistical patterns
of comorbidity. These patterns of comorbidity will then be linked with survey data already collected from
a large longitudinal cohort of older people. Multilevel models of the influence of specific comorbidities
and derived morbidity patterns on risk of onset or progression of disabling joint pain, and the interaction
with other risk factors (both at the individual and area-level) will then be developed.

The outcomes of this programme of work are intended to include: a literature review; papers reporting
the substantive findings of the study; papers on statistical aspects of the analyses performed;
recommendations for measuring and incorporating comorbidity in analyses.

The above project plan is indicative; the PhD student will be expected to critically review it and suggest
amendments, or to propose alternative analyses, as appropriate, so as to exercise appropriate
independent judgment and to establish suitable „ownership‟ of the programme of work.




Research Support



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The Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre at Keele University (Director: Professor Peter
Croft) is a large multidisciplinary grouping of some sixty clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians and
social scientists. Its main topical theme is research into musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain,
focused on joint pain and osteoarthritis, back pain and widespread and regional pain. It has been
instrumental in the development of the Keele GP Research Partnership which contains 28 local general
practices and whose clinical data collected as patients consult has become a valuable local resource to
support epidemiological research. With patients' explicit consent, we have linked consultations to
survey data to create a more complete longitudinal record of health status combined with health care
use, to establish predictors, patterns and outcomes of consultation. We have also been able to create
a frozen database of anonymised consultations using seven years of data from ten research practices.
This supports a whole programme of work where epidemiological models can be created from routinely
collected information. This enables us to characterise chronic illness and use of health care over time in
order to present models that will help in the planning of primary care provision in the future.

The successful candidate would join a group currently consisting of seven statisticians, led by Professor
Peter Jones, and would join a diverse and enthusiastic group of postgraduate research students. The
Centre runs a programme of both internal and external seminars, as well as journal clubs and in-house
training. As well as the University-wide research training programme, training will be provided in specific
statistical techniques (e.g. latent class analysis, multilevel modelling). There is also the possibility of
gaining teaching experience in applied statistics.


Candidate Profile
                                Essential                              Desirable
        Qualifications,         Honours degree (2:1 or better)         Understanding of and/or experience
        Experience and          and/or master‟s degree in              in medical statistics.
        Skills                  statistics, mathematics, or similar
                                subject with a strong statistical      Experience of STATA and/or SPSS.
                                content.

                                A graduate in another discipline
                                with an appropriate master‟s
                                degree (e.g. epidemiology,
                                quantitative research methods)
                                would also in principle be suitable.
        Attitude and            Must be able to carry out creative     Capable of working within an
        Personality             and self-motivated research under      interdisciplinary environment.
                                supervision and to work within a       Evidence of problem solving and
                                team.                                  decision making. Ability to meet tight
                                                                       deadlines and key milestones.



Further Information
Interested candidates are invited to discuss the project and/or pay an informal visit to the Centre. Contact Dr
Kelvin Jordan. Tel. 01782 583924; Email: k.p.jordan@cphc.keele.ac.uk or Prof Peter Jones. Tel 01782
584443; Email p.w.jones@vco.keele.ac.uk

Application Process
In order to be considered for a studentship, an application form for PhD study must be completed
“Application Form Postgraduate Research Degrees” plus an additional “Application form for a studentship or
bursary” indicating that you wish to apply for this studentship and detailing your suitability for the award.
Full details of application procedures for study are on the Keele website www.keele.ac.uk/gradschool or
contact The Graduate School for an Application Guide and application form (Graduate School, Keele
University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG. Tel: 01782 584368, email: gradschool@keele.ac.uk)


             CLOSING DATE – Friday 22 June 2007

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