The Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences (iPCHS) and the Health Economics Unit (HEU) at the University of Birmingham invite applications for studentship for international students.
Project Details
Back pain, although not life threatening is a major public health problem in Western industrialised societies. The cost associated with back pain on patients, the health care system and society as a whole in the UK was last estimated almost 20 years ago within a cost of illness study which argued that the substantial epidemiological and economic impact of back pain on society was expected to increase further in the future, due to a combination of changing attitudes and expectations, changing methods of medical management and changing social provision

Aims & Methods

  • This PhD project will explore the components comprising the economic burden of back pain and explore alternative and appropriate econometric techniques that could appropriately predict the relationship between reported back pain (via GP prescriptions say) and its consequent economic burden given the characteristics of the chosen database. It may be appropriate to explore also, utilising qualitative techniques, the views of economic consequences of back pain from a patient’s perspective with regard to some of the significant relationships identified in the econometric analysis of the routine data. For example, the impact of back pain on the private out of pocket costs to patient and family will be investigated exploring issues such as the time off work, sickness, cost of medications and additional treatments such as physiotherapy.
  • The overall aim is to utilise econometric methods to exploit current available routine data sources to present a revised estimate of the direct cost and indirect components of the economic burden of back pain in the UK. This estimate is likely to have increased since it was last estimated almost 20 years ago and will provide important information for clinicians, health care commissioners, and public health policy makers, and will inform economic evaluations of interventions to treat or prevent the consequences of back pain

Professor Tracy Roberts (Lead)
Dr Jesse Kigozi
Prof Alessandra Guariglia
Dr Gwenllian Wynne-Jones
Dr Majid Artus

Start Date
October 2016 (exact date to be confirmed)
Worth of Award

  • Funding is available for three years to cover fees for PhD registration 2016/17 home/EU rates and a research studentship stipend of currently £14,296 per annum for 2016/17.
  • Non-EU students would be required to pay the balance, currently approximately £8,500 per annum, of the overseas fees themselves.
  • A programme of research training will also be provided and it is anticipated that students will be involved in a number of activities at both Keele and Birmingham, including research seminars, journal clubs and an annual student conference.


  • Good, 2:1 or above, first degree in health economics, statistics, economics, health sciences, epidemiology, or other health-related discipline, with strong skills in quantitative analysis.
  • A Masters degree in a relevant discipline is essential, preferably at Merit or Distinction level. Experience in a health-related discipline useful, but not essential.

How to Apply

  • Enquiries and applications should be emailed to Catherine Taylor  To apply, please send:
    • A Detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
    • Names and addresses of two referees;
    • A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
    • Copies of your degree transcripts;
    • Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Deadline: Closing date for applications is Friday July 22, 2016
Date for Interview is Tuesday 2nd August 2016
Click here for more details and to apply

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