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PhD Studentship - Reducing the Population Impact of Hip Fractures in Aberdeen

Funded PhD studentship available from NIHR-funded Health Determinants Research Collaboration, Aberdeen

Awarding Body
NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration, Aberdeen
3 year PhD Studentship
29 February 2024
Quantity of Awards
1 Studentship


As one of the most common reasons for people requiring unscheduled hospital care in Grampian, with about 600 cases a year, hip fractures have a significant impact on the achievement of the Community Plan Stretch Target 11, healthy life expectancy. If the same age and sex specific rate of fractures continues, there will be around a 50% increase in fractures by 2030. Many people with fractures are not able to regain their former level of mobility and/or return home. The costs of a hip fracture to the health service are around £15,000; however, more research is needed on costs of social care and to carers. There are significant uncertainties regarding best prevention and management of fractures, especially Allied Health Professions (AHP) interventions. Grampian is unique in Scotland in having a fracture liaison service dataset as part of the Grampian Data Safe Haven (University of Aberdeen) and is therefore very well placed for research.

We are looking for a PhD student to undertake research that will contribute to reducing the population impact of fractures. There are a range of related questions to be answered, and the project would be tailored to the student’s interests and background. Our team proposes a multi-method PhD Programme including epidemiological, economic, and qualitative elements. Potential studies include: An epidemiological study of the Aberdeen City cohort of hip fracture patients, including a description of factors such as age, sex, deprivation pentile, where the patients were living before their fracture, environmental factors associated with the fracture and outcome (return home, going into residential home, death etc), services provided before and after fracture, access to services, and social inequalities.

A qualitative study exploring what patients’, carers and health and care professionals consider important for the prevention of and recovery from hip fractures, linking to what services are available/need to be developed in the local area. An economic study, using Discrete Choice Experiment methods, to quantify the strength of patient and/or carer preference on which services would be optimal for prevention and management of fracture in the community An economic study, linking the cohort of fracture patients to their social and residential care journey, to quantify the costs of fractures from both the perspective of Aberdeen City Council and carers.

Training and City Council Engagement

This project will provide training in a range or methods including epidemiology, qualitative methods, and health economics, including undertaking the formal RGU PgCert Researcher Development programme during the first 2 years of registration. A multi-disciplinary steering group will be created which will meet regularly and will include appropriate professional and managerial team members, such as finance officer, community planner and social worker from the City Council.

The Award

Studentship funding awards made will provide full UK tuition fees and include provision of a tax-free annual stipend (set at current UKRI level for session 2023/24). Although the amounts have not yet been finalised by UKRI, in session 2022/23 these were a tuition fee of £4,596 and annual stipend of £17,668. The revised UKRI amounts for session 2023/24 will be offered to those applicants who are successful in being awarded a 3 year-fully funded studentship.

The maximum funded period for all awards is 36-months. All students will be registered for a further 12-months to a maximum completion period of 48-months. The assessment period fee for the final 12-months will also be covered by this studentship award, although it should be noted no stipend will be offered during this final year.

These awards cannot be held concurrently with any other source of funded scholarships and only available on the basis that no other funding is being provided.


Eligible Countries of Residence

All countries are eligible for this scholarship, funding or discount.

Eligible Courses

Course Level

  • Postgraduate Research
  • PhD

Mode of Attendance

  • On Campus
  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Full Time

Subject Area

  • Health & Sport Science

Other Requirements

Academic Background

As a minimum requirement candidates must possess, or shortly expect to obtain (no later than April 2024), a minimum of a 2:1 honours degree at undergraduate level (or the international equivalent) but excluding any candidates who already possess a doctorate. The subject of the undergraduate and/or postgraduate master’s degree should be in a relevant academic discipline to the research project/proposal.

English Language Requirements

To meet the eligibility requirements for a studentship, applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. For candidates applying from a country where English is not the officially recognised language, alternate evidence must be submitted which meets the minimum overall requirement of 6.5 and with each element of reading, writing, speaking and listening meeting a minimum of 6.0.

Read further guidance on the range of tests or evidence we accept and a list of countries which are officially recognised as English speaking:

Tuition Fee Status and Eligibility Criteria

Before submitting an expression of interest, you should consult the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) to obtain information on the categories and criteria to determine your eligibility for home fees or otherwise. Although the fee status eligibility criteria are established by the Scottish Government, UKCISA provide an interpretation of their regulations:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

RGU seeks to attract the greatest diversity of expressions of interest, including from people from BAME minorities, women, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, disabled, or people from socio-economically disadvantaged or care-experienced backgrounds.

Conditions of the PhD Studentship Award

Prior to submitting an application, candidates should ensure they meet the eligibility criteria detailed to ensure that the requirements for acceptance have been (or will be) achieved.

An application must be submitted by Thursday 29 February at 17:00 (GMT). Only successful applications that are subsequently made an offer will be given instructions to formally apply to the RGU admissions system.

Where candidates have been offered an award on a conditional basis, it is essential that they must evidence that all conditions and eligibility criteria have been met and in turn secured an unconditional offer before the start date of the PhD programme. It is important to note that any candidates who receive an offer of award, but do not achieve the requirements for an unconditional offer by the start date, will have the award withdrawn.

NIHR-Logo-400wThis PhD studentship will be within the Aberdeen Health Determinants Research Collaboration (AHDRC). The AHDRC is funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research, led by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with NHS Grampian and the two local Universities.

The AHDRC’s overall aim is to develop a research active culture within Aberdeen City Council and Community Planning Aberdeen, directed toward understanding and addressing factors affecting health outcomes. AHDRC is committed to working with local communities affected by health outcome inequalities, and to find solutions to address these inequalities.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a CV, short personal statement and research proposal (maximum 4-pages) to Kay Cooper:

Our wide range of research projects are also available, start a conversation with a supervisor:

Process for Selection

Applications will be shortlisted and successful candidates at this stage invited to a panel interview in February 2024.

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