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ARC PhD studentship: Impact of COVID-19 in patients with multimorbidity using real-world data

Qualification: PhD

Department: Health Sciences

Application deadline: 31 July 2021

Start date: September 2021




  • Professor Thomas Yates
  • Dr Claire Lawson
  • Karen Tingay

Project description:

People with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, have been found to have the highest risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection resulting in hospitalisation or even mortality. Most of the research to date has focused on single chronic conditions, yet individuals often have multiple chronic conditions, known as multimorbidity. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 in those with multimorbidity has important clinical and public health implications which are not entirely captured by a focus on single conditions. 

This PhD project aims to use large routinely collected data and the UK ONS Census data to investigate the initial and longer-term effects of the risk associated with multimorbidity on outcomes in patients with COVID-19 in the UK population. The specific objectives are to:

  • Investigate the effects of the national lockdown on routine health care, lifestyle, mental and physical health conditions.
  • Explore the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 on mortality and life expectancy.
  • To explore the effectiveness of vaccines by different pre-existing multimorbidity conditions.

The PhD will be suitable for a person with a background in Statistics and/or Epidemiology. The research programme will involve a range of data sources and methodologies, ranging from simple descriptive statistics to advanced survival modelling. 

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 East Midlands Applied Research Collaboration (ARC). The Centre provides a stimulating and exciting environment in which to study for a postgraduate degree.


This 3-year NIHR ARC East Midlands Studentship provides:

  • UK/EU tuition fee waiver
  • Annual stipend at UKRI rates (£15,609 for 2021/22)

Entry requirements

It is expected that applicants will hold (or have completed by the start date) a Masters degree in statistics, medical statistics, epidemiology or public health.

First class or upper second class undergraduate degree or an equivalent overseas qualification with a high statistical content.

Applicants should have a good knowledge of statistical methodologies and an interest in medical statistics, and some experience or interest in working with large routinely available datasets.

University of Leicester English language requirements apply (where applicable).

Informal enquiries

Project enquiries:

  • We are keen to attract the very best applicants for this exceptional opportunity. We will be pleased to have informal conversations with interested individuals prior to applications - please contact: Dr Yogini Chudasama

Application enquiries:

How to apply

To submit your application, please use the 'Apply' button below and select September 2021 from the dropdown menu.

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.
  • In the funding section please specify that you wish to be considered for an NIHR ARC East Midlands Studentship 
  • In the research proposal section please provide the name of the project supervisors and the project title (a research proposal is not required)


UK/EU applicants only.

*Please note that the studentship is for full-time registration only and applicants must be available to start in September 2021.

Published on: 26 May 2021