Posted on: 15 February, 2019
Application deadline: April 10, 2019

ESRC 1+3/ +3 PhD Studentship to Study Environmental Effects on Population Health, University of St Andrews, Scotland

We invite applications from qualified and highly motivated students for an ESRC funded 3-year PhD Studentship to study environmental effects on population health. The PhD studentship is based at the University of St Andrews and is funded by the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science within the Health, Families, Relationships and Demographic Change pathway. The successful applicant will investigate short- and long-term effects of air pollution and extreme weather events on health and mortality across population subgroups in Britain, and will develop a multilevel survival model to study the effect of time-varying contextual factors on individuals’ health and mortality (for project description, please see Application of advanced quantitative methods (AQM) is the requirement of the studentship. The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Hill Kulu, and Dr. Urška Demšar. For applicants just completing their undergraduate degree there is also funding for a one-year master’s course in research methodology followed by a three-year PhD.

The ESRC scholarship covers tuition fees, a yearly stipend of £14,777 per year (in the 2018/19 academic year, subject to increase annually), and a research training support grant (RTSG) of £750 per year. The scholarship is open to UK and EU students. EU students who do not fulfil the ESRC’s residence eligibility criteria will be entitled to a Fees Only award (please check the ESRC’s residential guidelines which can be accessed at However, the University of St Andrews provides, on a competitive basis, maintenance stipends at the Research Council rate for EU PhD students who have been awarded a Research Council fees-only scholarship (and who start their degree in the academic year 2019-20).

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. A first class or an upper secondary undergraduate or master’s degree in any area of social, environmental and health sciences (including statistics and applied mathematics);
  2. Interest in developing and/or applying advanced quantitative methods in social sciences;
  3. Interest in working with spatial and longitudinal data. Coding skills are an advantage (e.g. in R, Stata or SAS), but not required.

Candidates must complete and submit an online application by 10th April 2019 at the following link: (Please click on ‘Apply now’ next to the project on “Modelling Short- and Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution and Temperature on Population Health and Mortality”.) In the application form, please specify your interest in environmental effects on human health and in applying advanced quantitative methods in social science research. Please also indicate whether you apply for a +3 (a three-year PhD) or a 1+3 studentship (a one-year master’s course in research methodology followed by a three-year PhD). There will be a variety of opportunities to take training in advanced quantitative methods during the PhD study; some training will be offered in St Andrews, some elsewhere in the UK. The student will also benefit from training provided by the International Max Planck Research School for Population Health Data (IMPRS-PHD). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in the week commencing 22nd April 2019; Skype interviews are possible.

The successful applicant will become a member of the Population and Health Research Group (PHRG) at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The PHRG research covers a wide range of population topics including

  • the analysis of health and mortality;
  • family and fertility dynamics;
  • life course choices;
  • internal and international migration;
  • ethnicity and minority populations; and
  • population inequalities.

The group combines expertise in advanced techniques of demographic, longitudinal and spatial analysis. For further details about the research group, please see:; The group is part of the ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC) ( and the IMPRS-PHD, a Europe-wide PhD training network, which will be launched in 2019.

This is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to work in an international team of researchers on a cutting-edge social science topic and applying advanced quantitative methods to longitudinal and environmental data. The studentship starts in October 2019. For informal inquiries, please contact Prof. Hill Kulu ( Please include ‘ESRC SGSSS PhD studentship’ in the subject line of your email.