A comparative analysis of a novel biochemical urine screen with pharmacy prescription records and a self- reported questionnaire to assess non-adherence in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Qualification: PhD

Department: Health Sciences

Application deadline: 15 April 2021

Start date: As soon as possible



Project description:

Non-adherence is defined as: “the extent to which a person’s behaviour – taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes, corresponds with agreed recommendations from a health care provider”. Non-adherence in chronic cardiometabolic diseases including diabetes is very common and is often the primary reason for treatment failure. This leads significant excess costs to the health economy through avoidable investigations, treatment escalations, hospital admissions, and disease complications. 

Methods to diagnose non-adherence have until recently been poor. We have recently developed an objective and robust biochemical method to detect the presence of 160 cardiovascular medications in urine using high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Biochemical adherence testing has not been utilised in people with diabetes, further its relationship with other measures of adherence is unknown. 

The main aim of this observational study is to compare biochemical non-adherence with other commonly used measures of non-adherence in people with diabetes. Biochemical testing for non-adherence will be performed using urine provided by 600 patients with poorly controlled diabetes attending primary care recruited over a 15-month period. Participants will also be required to complete a self- reported questionnaire and pharmacy records will be reviewed to ascertain prescription refill rates. The prevalence and metabolic control of non-adherence as diagnosed biochemically will be compared with those obtained by pharmacy refill rates and patient self-reported questionnaires. Further, the determinants of non-adherence as ascertained by urine LC-MS/MS analysis will be studied.

It is hoped that this innovative study will lead to further larger intervention studies that will change the management of non-adherence in diabetes.





This 3-year PhD Studentship provides:

  • UK/EU tuition fee waiver
  • Annual stipend at UKRI rates (£15,285 for 2020/21)
  • Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 p.a. 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The Diabetes Research Centre (University of Leicester) is a world leader in diabetes research, and the Department of Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Medicine is a world leader in biochemical testing of non-adherence. 

We are looking for high calibre students who have a UK Bachelor's Degree with at least a 2:1 (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject, plus an MSc (desirable).

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



Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project enquiries:

Application enquiries:

How to apply

How to apply

To submit your application, please use the 'Apply' button below and select May 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 the Dr P Gupta studentship.
  • In the research proposal section, please provide the name of the project supervisors and project title (a research proposal is not required)



UK/EU and International.

*International students are eligible to apply, but will need to produce evidence how the shortfall in fees (between the International and UK/EU tuition fee) and living expenses will be covered.