This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Exploiting administrative maternity data to examine maternal and infant health outcomes across Northern Ireland

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Summary

The chief, longstanding outcome of the Health and Social Care Commissioning Plan Direction (Northern Ireland) [1] is to improve and protect health and wellbeing and to reduce health inequalities for all individuals across Northern Ireland (NI). Marmot’s (2010) Fair Society, Health Lives Review [2] advocated strongly that health inequalities exist before birth and the development of a healthy baby is crucially affected by the health and wellbeing of the mother. Regionally, in 2012, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s (DHSSPS) A Strategy for Maternity Care in NI (2012-18) [3] also clearly recognized the important role that the general socio-economic, cultural, and environmental conditions in which people live, as well as the lifestyle choices they make, their emotional health and other clinical and biological factors, can have on impacting the outcome of a pregnancy for a mother and her baby. In order to reduce health inequalities for mothers and their children, a modern health system must commission and provide high-quality, evidence-based maternity care services which are acceptable to, and appropriate for the needs of, the local population which they serve [2]. The Northern Ireland Maternity System (NIMATS) is a regional administrative data resource which contains a wide range of demographic and clinical information collected about mothers and their infants during antenatal check-ups, labour and delivery, and the postnatal period. Although NIMATS data is collected primarily for administrative purposes, there may be considerable potential for this wide-ranging data resource to also be used for research purposes. Currently, NIMATS is largely an under-utilized resource.

This PhD proposal is part of a larger research project involving an observational, population-level analysis of births occurring in NI from 2012 onwards (~25K births annually) to produce high-quality, robust evidence on pregnancy and birth, which can be used to help shape and inform the commissioning and delivery of maternity services in NI.

The project aims are as follows:

(1) To provide a complete and accurate picture of the socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. age, sex, marital status, employment status) of all mothers giving birth at the main maternity hospitals in NI, and whether/how this has changed in recent years;

(2) To assess how specific sub-groups of mothers (e.g. younger mothers; older mothers; single mothers; those with specific health conditions; etc.) experience pregnancy and birth in NI;

(3) To estimate the effect of a range of protective and risk factors associated with experiencing a range of specific birth outcomes (e.g. C-section; assisted delivery; home birth); and

(4) To estimate the effect of a range of socio-demographic, antenatal care and birth-related factors on the characteristics and health of new-borns (e.g. gestation; birth weight; APGAR score, etc.) in NI.

The PhD researcher will be supported to develop their own research interests within the scope of this larger study.

Additional Requirements

* Experience in analysing and eagerness to learn about secondary/administrative quantitative data;

* Enthusiasm and willingness to work independently (under supervision).

REFS:

1.  Department of Health (2018). Health and Social Care Commissioning Plan Direction (Northern Ireland) 2018-19.  Retrieved from http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/download/PUBLICATIONS/COMMISSIONING%20PLANS/Draft-Commissioning-Plan-2018-19.PDF. Last accessed 30th May 2019.

2. Marmot Review (The), Fair Society, Healthy Lives, 2010. 3. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2012). A Strategy for Maternity Care in Northern Ireland (2012-18). Retrieved from https://nipec.hscni.net/download/projects/previous_work/highstandards_practice/community_maternity/documents/maternity-strategy.pdf. Last accessed 30th May 2019.

3. Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) (2017). Review of A Strategy for Maternity Care in Northern Ireland (2012-18).  Retrieved from https://www.rqia.org.uk/reviews/review-reports/2016-2017/2016-2017/rqia-report-of-review-of-maternity-strategy-2012-2/.  Last accessed 30th May 2019.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • A demonstrable interest in the research area associated with the studentship

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Hold a Masters degree in Psychology or related area
  • Recognition of the importance of research integrity and Open Science practices

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Michelle Clements Clements

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  

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
18 + 19 + 20 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Coleraine campus

Coleraine campus
The feeling of community at our Coleraine campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.


Contact supervisor

Dr Orla McBride


Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities

MRes in Psychology

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

 View details

Psychology - Mental Health

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

 View details

Psychology - Health and Aging

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

 View details

Psychology - Children, Young People and Schools

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

 View details