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PhD students

A key aim of the NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC is to build further capacity in primary care safety research at early stages of translation within and between research and practice communities.

We recruited and directly funded six PhD students between 2012 and 2017 to work on research topics including:

  • procedural violations in pharmacy;
  • patient and public involvement for black and minority ethnic (BME) groups;
  • care pathway assessments across different health information systems.

Our funding for 2017 to 2022 will support PhD students in all research themes, with additional PhD students from within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health in health economics.

In addition, two PhDs will be funded by The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and one PhD will be funded by CLAHRC East Midlands.

Current PhD Opportunities

Translating a brief psychological intervention to reduce suicidal ideation and behaviour into a tool for prevention

Recent work led by the University of Manchester has developed and tested a very brief theory-based psychological intervention (the “volitional help sheet”, VHS) that significantly reduces suicidal ideation and behaviour among people admitted to hospital following an episode of self-harm (Armitage et al., British Journal of Psychiatry, 2016). However, it is not yet known whether the intervention is acceptable to- and effective in- preventing suicidal ideation and behaviour among the broader population (e.g., people who do not necessarily access conventional services). The goal of this PhD will be to translate these early promising findings into an intervention that will meet the needs of people who may be at risk of self-harm and/or suicide but who have not necessarily been admitted to hospital.

This PhD will seek to address three key issues:

  1. Do people who may be at risk of self-harm think the VHS for self-harm is acceptable? What improvements would they make?
  2. Does the VHS for self-harm reduce suicidal ideation and behaviour among people who may be at risk of self-harm?
  3. What are the facilitators/barriers for making the VHS for self-harm a tool to be used routinely for preventing suicidal ideation and behaviour?

This is a funded studentship covering fees and stipend. For more information and to apply, please visit FindAPhD.

Closing date: Monday 30 July 2018


Deployment and evaluation of complex computerised interventions to enhance patient safety in primary care

This project is part of our Safety Informatics theme, which focuses methods and tools that can leverage digital records to reveal and manage safety by producing actionable information for clinicians and patients.

The project will build on two previously developed computer systems that allow general practices to avoid potentially unsafe prescribing (Salford MedicAtion Safety dasHboard; SMASH) and improve the management of long-term conditions (the Performance Improvement plaN GeneratoR; PINGR). Both systems have been rolled out in Salford primary care. The PhD project will focus on two new projects:

  1. Developing state-of-the-art actionable patient-facing messages to be delivered via smartphone applications to engage patients in their care; co-designing in partnership with patients; deploying in clinical practice; evaluating the potential effects on patient care and the doctor-patient relationship.
  2. Exploring the feasibility and utility of using controlled randomised experiments (“A/B testing”) to optimise the usability and effectiveness of existing clinical decision support systems (SMASH and PINGR) in primary care.

In both projects, the PhD student will work in close collaboration with the GM PSTRC Safety Informatics team led by Professor Niels Peek. Excellent specialised training for developing and evaluating complex computerised interventions will be provided.

For more information, including entry requirements, and to apply, please visit FindAPhD.

Closing date: This position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. The studentship is expected to commence from 1 October 2018 but a January 2019 start dates will be considered.

Our students

Name: Ahmed Ashour
Based in: Division of Pharmacy and Optometry
PhD project title: Identifying and developing non-technical skills in community pharmacy to improve patient safety.

Name: Lukasz Cybulski
Based in: Division of Psychology and Mental Health
PhD project title: Nonfatal self-harm, suicide and other causes of premature death among general practitioner-registered patients diagnosed with mental disorders that are commonly treated in primary care

Name: Beatriz Rubio Huete
Based in: Centre for Health Economics
PhD project title: What is the economic impact of mental health policies and services that are intended to reduce suicide rates?

Name: Anna-Sophia Wawera
Based in: Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
PhD project title: Promoting and supporting safety in the context of childhood long-term conditions