This opportunity is now closed.

Self-funded MRes opportunity

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and secondary data to investigate relationships between Diabetes prevalence and socio-demographic factors

Subject: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology


Diabetes has been described as a global epidemic (Bassett, 2005) with an estimated 451 million people experiencing the illness in 2017 (Cho et al., 2018). The disease necessitates strict self-management practices for patients and leads to significant health costs (Fernandes et al., 2016) at a time when public health funds are under increasing pressure. While there are known links between diabetes and obesity (Kahn et al., 2006), a range of environmental variables are associated with diabetes (e.g. socioeconomic status and rurality). Furthermore, studies also indicate strong links between obesity and “activity spaces” (Kestens et al., 2010) and “foodscapes” (Mackenbach et al., 2019).

This research project aims to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic data and foodscapes and diabetes rates across Northern Ireland.

Specific objectives are:

1.To use a Geographic Information System (GIS) based approach to map longitudinal diabetes data (2013-2017) at Super Output Area (SOA) level across Northern Ireland.

2.To create a spatial database that consists of (i) socioeconomic data and (ii) a measure of accessibility to a range of fast food outlets.

3.To investigate the relationship between diabetes and socioeconomic and foodscape variables using statistical techniques.

It is hypothesized that diabetes rates will be positively correlated to a range of socioeconomic and environmental variables. This project would suit a student with a health sciences background. While IT experience is advantageous, GIS training will be provided as part of the MRes programme. Knowledge and experience of statistics would be desirable.

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)


This is a self-funded MRes opportunity.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

Watch Video  

I would highly recommend Ulster University as you get so much support.  Coleraine is a beautiful town and the people are so friendly. It was a really positive experience.

Carin Cornwall - PhD Environmental Sciences

Watch Video  

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 28 June 2019

Interview Date
Mid July 2019


Apply Online


Coleraine campus

Coleraine campus
Our coastal and riverside campus focussing on science and health

Contact supervisor

Dr Paul McKenzie

Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities in: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology ,

Geography and Environmental Sciences

Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

 View Details

MRes in Geography & Environmental Sciences

Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

 View Details