Back to top

ARC PhD studentship exploring associations between multimorbidity, frailty and lifestyle

ARC PhD studentship to study at the University of Leicester: Exploring associations between multimorbidity, frailty and lifestyle

NIHR ARC East Midlands is pleased to announce funding for a doctoral studentship to commence May 2021. The PhD will be aligned to our Multimorbidity theme.  

NIHR ARC EM is an applied research centre working across the East Midlands. Our research aims to improve outcomes for patients and the public and to increase the efficiency, quality, accessibility and sustainability of health and care services:

Application deadline: 31 March 2021. Start date: 1 May 2021.

Supervisors: Dr Francesco Zaccardi and Professor Kamlesh Khunti

Study overview:

Multimorbidity and frailty affect an increasing number of the population and are leading causes of hospitalisation and health care utilisation. Given medication usage is already high in these populations, non-pharmaceutical interventions are required. In order to inform such interventions, we need a better understanding of which patterns of lifestyle behaviours are optimally associated with maintaining good physical function (ability to move around independently) and reduced premature death in populations with and without multimorbidity. 

This PhD project will:

  • undertake a series of epidemiological analysis on datasets available nationally, such as UK Biobank and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), and regionally using data collected through the Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, or through local authority data capture systems. 
  • identify key patterns of lifestyle behaviours (sleep, physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking) and related factors, such body composition, that are associated with a reduced risk of frailty and that maximise life expectancy in those with and without multimorbidity. 
  • be embedded within a team of experts in lifestyle related epidemiology and receive training in a broad range of statistical methods used to investigate survival, along with approaches to collate and process lifestyle data.

The PhD project will be integrated into a vibrant postgraduate research community within the Real World Evidence Unit and the Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester and help advance the aims of the National Institute of Health Research Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRU) and Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands (ARC).  


Applicants must have:

  • A UK undergraduate (Bachelors) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours, or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.


This is a 3 year, full-time studentship. It offers:

  • an annual tax-free stipend at UKRI rates (currently £15,285 per year).
  • tuition fee waiver at UK/EU rates.

How to apply:

Full details and how to apply can be found here:

All informal enquiries to be addressed to: Dr Francesco Zaccardi (Email:

Published on: 27 Jan 2021