MSc/PhD Studentship in Medical Statistics, University of Liverpool, UK

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MRC- funded 4 year MSc/PhD Studentship or 3 year PhD Studentship in Medical Statistics

Applications are invited for a fully funded MRC Doctoral Training Grant PhD Research Studentship starting from 1st October 2010 or as soon as possible thereafter. For applicants with a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree with a substantial statistics component, funding is available for students to take the one-year MSc course in Statistics at Lancaster University, prior to embarking on the 3 year PhD programme. Applicants who already have a relevant MSc degree can pursue the 3 year PhD programme directly.

During the PhD research programme, the student will be based at the MRC funded North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research (NWHTMR) at the University of Liverpool. Led by Professor Paula Williamson, the NWHTMR is a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster and Bangor, involving experts in medical statistics, clinical trial methodology, pharmacoeconomics, sociology and clinical psychology.

The studentship will be supervised by Dr Catrin Tudur Smith, Dr Carrol Gamble and Professor Munir Pirmohamed.

Project details
An assessment of the balance of benefit to harm of a treatment is essential during the clinical trial process. This should ideally include an evaluation of existing data to inform the design of a clinical trial, the ongoing evaluation during the conduct of a clinical trial, and the appropriate analysis and reporting of harms data at the end of a clinical trial.

The ability of a clinical trial to detect harm is only reliable for the most common events that occur as trials are usually powered to detect differences in terms of benefit. Identifying unexpected harms is difficult when the delay between the intervention and the onset of side effects is long or when a cumulative exposure is necessary to trigger the harms (Curevo and Clarke 2003). Furthermore, a trial may have excluded certain relevant populations such as children or women. Therefore, a complete evaluation of harms data requires sources of evidence outside of clinical trials, sources such as observational studies, databases, registries and specialised publications, which themselves have limitations of their own.

This studentship will evaluate the role and value of using existing harms data such as the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) and MHRA Yellow Card Database to improve the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of clinical trials.

Applicants must have, or expect to be awarded in summer 2010, a first or upper second class honours degree with a substantial statistics component from a UK University, or the equivalent. Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved an IELTS score of 6.5 minimum, or hold a degree taught in English.

This award is ONLY available to applicants eligible to pay the Home/EU Tuition fee and who satisfy UK residency requirements i.e. UK nationals, EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for three years immediately before the award, or other nationals who have been granted permanent residency status in the UK.  EU nationals who are not resident in the UK are eligible for a Fees-only award (ie. no stipend).

For informal enquiries or to submit your CV and any supporting information please contact Dr Catrin Tudur Smith ( or Dr Carrol Gamble (

£13,590 pa tax free stipend
Centre for Medical Statistics/ MRC-funded North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research
Location: Liverpool City Centre
Closing date for receipt of applications: 19 July 2010

Visit official website.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.


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