Postgraduate research

Advancing the understanding of multiple long-term conditions in people living with diabetes.

Qualification: PhD

Department: Population Health Sciences

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Start date: Early 2023



Project description

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterised by the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. The current estimate of prevalence of T1D in the UK is 266,000 (0.4%), which translates to ~1 in every 250 people. Globally, temporal trends of incidence continue to rise at an average annual rate of 3-4%. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is caused by insulin resistance and is largely mediated by lifestyle factors, approximately 90% of people living with diabetes in the UK have T2D. Multimorbidity is the presence of two or more long-term health conditions and is associated with decreased quality of life, premature death, and high treatment burden. Multiple long-term conditions (MLTCs) are a global healthcare priority and strategic aim for the NIHR, MRC, and Academy of Medical Sciences. The risk of MLTCs is much higher in people living with diabetes due to microvascular and macrovascular complications caused by chronic hyperglycaemia, dyslipidaemia, and heightened inflammation. 

Clinical practice guidelines almost entirely focus on single conditions in isolation in siloed care pathways which leads to sub optimal care and a multitude of problems, including increased healthcare use and associated cost, polypharmacy, and the complexity of self-care. Chief Medical Officers across the UK have concluded clustering of diseases is fundamental to the management of MLTCs and that they should be embedded into medical training and continuous professional development. 

Utilising the vast wealth of existing patient data available, the proposed research will facilitate a better understanding of the magnitude of MLTCs among people living diabetes in the UK. Defining patterns of MLTCs offers the potential of stratifying care between phenotypes which could inform guidelines allowing clinicians to provide more comprehensive care pathways (i.e., precision tailoring of care). Targeting modifiable determinants of MLTCs will be an efficient approach to preventing multimorbidity and its associated risks in people living with diabetes. Collectively this could lead to better models of health care for patients. 

The overall aim for the studentship is to advance understanding on MLTCs in people with diabetes. This will be achieved through the following key objectives:

  • Systematically review the global evidence base in an attempt to identify the prevalence and effectiveness of interventions to manage MLTCs in people living with diabetes. 
  • Determine the prevalence, patterns, and determinants of MLTCs in people living with diabetes: a population-based study using electronic health records.
  • Develop best practice guidance for the prevention and management of MLTCs in people living with diabetes.

Successful completion by the right candidate is likely to lead to submission of an NIHR (or similar) fellowship application. The student will be supported to apply for further grant funding through NIHR, MRC, Wellcome or similar. 



Funding source: The NIHR ARC East Midlands

PhD funding provides:

  • University full-time PhD Registration Fees at UK rates for 3 years
  • Annual stipend at standard UKRI rates based on £17,668 per annum based on 2022/23 start

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better and an MSc in in epidemiology or a related subject, such as public health, statistical science or biological science. In addition to the academic entry requirements, you will also need to satisfy The University of Leicester English language entry requirements. 

The successful candidate will be highly motivated with strong written and verbal communication skills and proficient in an array of data science software packages, operating systems, and programming languages (including Python and R).

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project/Funding enquiries to Dr Lauren O’Mahoney at

Application enquiries to

How to apply

How to apply

To submit your online application please use the Apply button at the bottom and select May 2023 from the dropdown menu.

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement (max 1000 words) 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 Ref HS NIHR Gillies 2
  • In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisors and project title (a proposal is not required)



UK (Home) Applicants only

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